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The Sermons in this Volume, with the exception of 
that on Job, are arranged according to the order of 
the Sunday Lessons ; and indeed the selection of the 
characters has been regulated in some measure with 
this view. The concluding Sermon on Antichrist 
was not written with any reference to this series; 
but, independently of other reasons for its introduc- 
tion, it is so connected with some of the subjects as 
to render it a suitable termination for the Volume. 

While such works are in some sense offered to the 
public, yet rather would the Writer in this as in all 
other things wish to look up more entirely to the 
Author of all good ; and, as the " lad with five barley 
loaves," present these through His Church to the gra^ 
cious Eye of his Divine Master ; if peradventure He 
would look on them and accept them, and, if he might 
say it without presumption, take them into His all- 
hallowing hands, and multiply and sanctify them to 
the great ends of giving food to His people. 

October. 1856. 

A 2 




1 Cob. xy. 22. — ^^ For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ 
shall all be made alive " 1 



Hbb. xi. 4. — " By faith Abel offered unto God a more excel- 
lent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness 
that he was righteous, Grod testifying of his gifts " .12 



GsN. T. 29.— ''And he called his name Noah, sayiog, This 
same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of 
our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath 
cursed" 2|4 




Gen. xxiL 11. — ^''And the angel of the Lord called unto 
him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham " . 36 



Gen. xiii. 1 1. — " Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan ; 
and Lot journeyed East : and they separated themselves 
the one from the other " 48 



Mal. i. 2, 3.—'' Was not Esau Jacob's brother ! saith the 

Lord : yet I loved Jacob, 
"And I hated Esau" ....... 60 



Gen. xlix. 23, 24.—" The archers havi» sorely grieved him, 
and shot at him, and hated him : 

** But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands 
were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of 
Jacob" ... 72 





Numb. xii. 3. — ^ Now the man Moses was very meek, above 
all the men which were upon the face of Uie earth " . 85 



Heb. v. 4. — " And no man taketh this honour unto himself, 
but he that is called of God, as was Aaron " • . -97 



ExOD. ix. 12.— ^ And the Lord hardened the heart of 
Pharaoh" Ill 



Numb. zvi. 23, 24. — ** And the Lord spake unto Moses, say- 
ing. Speak unto the congregation, saying, Gret you up 
from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and 
Abiram" 123 


Numb, xxiii. 10. — ** Let me die the death of the righteous, 
and let my last end be like his!" 136 





Deut. xxxL 23. — ^ And he gave Joehua the son of Nan a 
charge, and said, Be strong and of a good courage : for 
thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land 
which I sware unto them : and I will be with thee " • 148 



JuDG. xiiL 24. — ^ And the woman bare a son, and called his 
name Samson ; and the child grew, and the Lord blessed 
him" 160 



1 Sam. L 20.^" She bare a son, and called his name Samuel, 
saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord '* • . 172 



1 Sam. xvi. 14.^^ But the Spirit of the Lord departed from 
Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him " .184 



Acts xiiL 22. — ^^ To whom also He gave testimony, and said, 
I have found David the son of Jesse^ a man after Mine 
own heart" 197 





Nbh. xiii. 26. — ^ Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by 
these things? yet among many nations "was there no 
king like him^ who was beloved of his God " • . • 210 



St. James y. 17* — '^ Elias was a man subject to like passions 
as we are " 222 



1 Kings xxL 25. — *< But there was none like unto Ahab, 

which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight 
of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up *' . . 232 



2 Kings ii. 9, 10. — ** And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a 

double portion of thy spirit be upon me. 
*< And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing ; nevertheless, 
if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall 
be so unto thee " .« 242 



2 Kings xviii 5.—^ He trusted in the Lord God of Israel ; 
so that after him was none like him among all the kings 
of Judah, nor any that were before him "... 253 






2 Chbon. xxxiv. 27.— '' Because thine heart was tender, and 
thou didst humhle thyself before God, when thoa 
heardest His words against this pUuse, and against the 
inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before Me, 
and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before Me ; I 
have even heard thee also, saith the Lord " . . . 264 



Jer. ix. 1,2. — ^'Oh that my head were waters, and mine 
eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and 
night for the slain of the daughter of my people I Oh 
that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of way- 
faring men ; that I might leave my people and go from 
them!" 276 



EzEK. xxxiiii. 32. — '^ And, lo, thou art unto them as a very 
lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can 
play well on an instrument : for they hear thy words, 
but they do them not " . . • . . . .288 



Dan. X. 11.— '^ And He said unto me, O Daniel, a man 
greatly beloved " .SOI 





Joel i. 1.-^^ The word of the Lord that came to Joel the son 
of Pethuel" 316 



St. Jambs y. 11. — ^ Ye have heard of the patience of Job, 
. and have seen the ^d of the Lord " . . . . 327 



St. John xiL 41. — " These things said Esaias, when he saw 
His glory, and spake of Him " 338 



2 Thbss. iL 3. — ^ Let no man deceive you by any means : for 
that day shall not come, except there come a falling away 
first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of per- 
dition" ......... 349 



1 Corinthians xy. 22. 

" For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made 

The state of our first parents in Paradise must always 
be a mystery to us ; we can form no conception of a 
condition in which there was no death, and none of 
the sad company of death, sin and fear and care and 
pain. But in this our ignorance all has been told us 
which it is good for us to know ; and their trial and 
fall is so like what we ourselves experience, that we 
understand it but too well. We find in ourselves the 
like mystery of evil when we sin against better know- 
ledge, forfeit our great strength, choose death instead 
of life, and give up our God in exchange for some 
passing temptation. 

First of all, then, we read that God made man in 
His own image and likeness, capable of knowing and 
loving Him as the inferior creatures could not; 
He set him in dominion over them; He endowed 
him too with every gift which the perfection of 
his nature required; He imparted to him an inti- 

I. » 

1! ADAM. 

mate knowledge of all the creatures, so tbat be could 
give them suitable names such as God approved; 
He placed him in a garden, which He is described as, 
in some especial and pre-eminent manner, furnishing 
very richljr for his use ; He added also an associate, 
whom, as a part of himself, he might cherish with a 
more intimate love ; and, more than all, God Himself 
conversed with him, without his being overcome with 
shame or fear, and, as it is described, walked with him 
in the garden. Thus He made him to be like His 
own image below, crowned above all the creatures 
with understanding, and adorned with gifts both 
within and without. But this was not all — for God 
made with Adam a covenant of everlasting life, 
dependent on his obedience, annexing to that obedi- 
ence the gift of immortality ; for in addition to all 
other gifts was the Tree of Life, and hard by it in the 
midst of the garden, the Tree of Blnowledge, to be 
the trial of obedience. Thus was he called by this 
covenant of grace from all earthly pleasures and 
endowments, to the " more excellent way " of charity ; 
that charity which is " proof against " all temptations ; 
charity which "never faileth;" charity which is con- 
tent to be without the " knowledge that puffeth up ;" 
which obeys because it loves, and loves because it 
trusts, and is therefore ever wont to look up to and to 
lean on God ; till faith, " rooted and grounded in love," 
when perfected by obedience, might be translated to a 
higher and securer state of bliss with God Himself in 
Heaven. And the place of this covenant of grace 
was "in the midst of the garden:" as the sun is the 
centre of the universe, which without him would be 
dead; so did obedience to this one command give 
order and beauty to that Paradise, when all was 

ADAM. 3 

obedient to man, because man was obedient to 

Thus were they in a state of perfect innocence and 
happiness: but their life was not in themselves, it 
was dependent on God, and they were made to feel 
this their dependence upon Him, in their liability to 
fall ; it was therefore a life of faith, because it was a 
condition of trial and obedience. Their happiness 
was in the love of God, in Whose likeness they were 
made ; and while they had that love, faith in Him 
would be their strength, and obedience their de- 
light. The free gift is made them that they " may 
eat of every tree of the garden," except one only; 
and when that one exception is made, it is with the 
promise of life on their obedience. If they eat not of 
that forbidden tree they shall live ; and therefore with 
that Tree of Knowledge is the Tree of Life. And as 
Qx)d giveth not as man giveth, but liberally and 
abundantly beyond words, we may conclude that 
therein was implied that such obedience would lead to 
a more perfect and blissful immortality. For their 
present life on earth was then precarious, and depend- 
ent on means from without, that Tree of Life to which 
they had access ; it was not of that " Well of Life *' 
which is with God, which is from within, ever " spring- 
ing up unto everlasting life." 

Moreover, another peculiar gift ia spoken of. It is 
said that God *' breathed into his nostrils the breath 
of life," and in consequence " man became a living 
soul," i.e. a soul capable of that better life which is in 
God. For what was this breath of God but that 
He infused into him of His Divine Spirit, clothed 
him with that vesture of immortality, whereby after 
having been created in the similitude of God, he 
B 2 

4 ADAM. 

migbt look up to Heaven, as " waiting for the revela- 
tion of the sons of God," and the crown and fulness of 
that angelic nature ? Thus then was it that God had 
not onljr " set him over the works of His hands," but 
He " visited him," and " crowned him with glory and 
worship." He had set His love on the man He had 
formed, and in this the greatness of His love, He 
sought for the love of man in return, his free love and 
choice, which could only be shown by this obedience. 

And now we come to the mysterious origin of evil, 
which has been ever since so intimately with us, which 
wraps us about as our very clothing, enters into us as 
the food we eat, as the air we breathe, is with us, in us, 
and about us, and lets not go its hold on us till we die. 
But "the serpent said unto the woman. Tea, hath 
God said, Te shall not eat of every tree of the garden ? " 
Here, then, we have disclosed in its fulness the exist- 
ence and craft of an evil spirit bent on our ruin ; and 
his entering into the serpent, as afterwards, by our 
Lord's permission, the devils entering into the swine, 
sets before us how they may take possession of those 
whom God hath made, and hence of the body and of the 
soul of man. Add to which that his making the crea- 
ture the instrument of evil, seems to account for the 
animal creation around us being united and sharing, for 
some mysterious reasons, in the sufferings of mankind. 

"And the woman said unto the serpent. Of the 
fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, 
God hath said, Te shall not eat of it, neither shall ye 
touch it, lest ye die." Now though Eve was as yet 
sinless, we may see in this reply the first faint ten- 
dency to her falling away from God. The command 
which God had given to Adam was, ^' Thou shalt not 
eat of it," but Eve adds here the words, " Neither 

sliall ye touch it." She overstates, as it were, the 
prohibition ; like the Pharisees afterwards whom our 
Lord condemned, she thus added to the word of God. 
Not is this all ; for at the same time she diminishes 
from it, for God had said to Adam, " Thou shalt surely 
die," or " Dying thou shalt die," which is a very strong 
expression ; but she softens it down, and says merely, 
"Lest ye die." She adds to God's word like the 
Pharisee — she takes away from it like the Sadducee. 
She adds to the command — takes away from the 
warning. Thus all is gradual, the serpent insinuatejs 
a poisonous question, then Eve doubts God's word, 
and then the serpent denies it. " Lest ye die," says 
Eve. " Te shall not die," adds the tempter. 

"While this is at work in the heart, what follows ? 
" I have made a covenant with mine eyes," says Job, 
taught by the sad experience of mankind ; but not so 
was it now. " The woman saw that the tree was good 
for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a 
tree to be desired to make one wise." All her life and 
bliss was in God, and in union with God ; but now 
she desired something out of God. Por these three 
things contain all the temptations to which mankind 
are subject, as St. John states them, " the lust of the 
flesh," for it was good for food ; " the lust of the eyes," 
for it was pleasant to behold; and "the pride of 
life," for it was to be desired to make one wise, yea, as 
gods. " All these," says St. John, " are not of the 
Pather, but are of the world ;" and " if any man love 
the world, the love of the Pather is not in him ^" 

Thus are these temptations put in motion by Satan ; 
he stealthily approaches like a serpent wherever he 

1 IJohnU. 15, ] 6. 

6 ADAM. 

finds access, advancing by little and little with great 
subtlety, first through the creature, then by the 
weaker vessel ; tempting the woman by the fruits of 
the garden, in which as a serpent he lay hid, and thus 
winding his way to the man as it were on the weaker 
side, by his love for the woman, through that new 
and great gift, the love of his espousals. And what is 
the first result of this act of disobedience ? Instead 
of the likeness of Gk)d, Eve puts on the likeness of 
Satan ; she at once takes part vdth the serpent ; she 
also now acts as a tempter, and, in so doing, brings 
death on one whom she loved ; " She gave to her hus- 
band, and he did eat." So is it with sin at all times ; no 
one falls alone ; those nearest and dearest are often 
injured by every sin of ours — and, oh ! terrible thought, 
may lose on our account life eternal. Here in the 
germ is the fulness of all sin ; some secret presump- 
tion that goes before a fall ; then the devil tempting ; 
then doubt of God ; and then evil curiosity ; and then 
the influence of example which spreads the sin, that 
fearful net of the wicked one, entangling all around in 
the society of evil. 

Their innocence was gone— their covenant vdth Qoi 
was broken — of their better nature shame alone 
remained ; in this shame alone is their hope ', inas- 
much it is an acknowledgment of sin, and might there- 
fore lead to repentance. Disobeying God, their own 
nature was no longer obedient to themselves, and they 
were ashamed of it, for it had other desires than the 
will of God, " another law in their members bringing 
them into captivity to the law of sin '•" And whereas 

> St. Ambrose, De Paradiso, cap. xiv. 

* Rom. vii. 23 ; St. Aug. yoL x. 612. 1303. 

ADAH. 7 

before they knew nothing but good, they now know 
both good and evil, the knowledge which it would 
have been infinitely better never to have had, the 
knowledge of evil spirits, of the good they have lost, 
of the evil they have chosen. " They saw that they 
were naked," for not till then were they divested of 
God's righteousness ; the clothing of His sanctifying 
Spirit, when without shame or fear they conversed 
with Q-od : but now they seek for covering from that 
shame ; such has ever been the effort of mankind, with 
the fading leaves of worldly objects to cover them- 
selves ; secretly conscious of their nakedness and deep 
internal poverty without God. " They cover with a 
covering," says the Prophet, " but not of my Spirit, 
that they may add sin to sin *." 

And they " hid themselves from the presence of the 
Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the 
Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, 
"Where art thou ? " Lito what abyss of misery art thou 
fallen ? from what grace and hope art thou lost*? 

And now if Eve had before acted as Satan the 
tempter, so Adam is now as Satan the accuser, for he 
says, " The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, 
she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." Here is no 
humiliation — no confession. Yes, I did eat; the 
woman gave me, and Thou gavest me the woman ; it 
is all from Thee ! Oh, sad change, what a return to 
God for all His gifts ! They hide among the trees, 
they cover their shame with leaves; and now with 
pretext and excuse. 

'* And the woman said, the serpent beguiled me and 
I did eat." She too, as Adam, casts the guilt upon 

* Isa. XXX. 1. » St. Ambrose. 

8 ADAM. 

another ; yet here indeed there is in some sort con- 
fession of sin; and therefore gives ground for par- 
don'. But oh, how much has mankind to suffer 
before they come to that true contrition of heart 
which says with the Psalmist, "I said, Lord, have 
mercy on me ; heal my soul, for I have sinned against 
thee '." The affictions of Job ; the trials of Joseph ; 
the endurance of Moses; the contrition of David; 
the confessions of Daniel; the sorrows of the- Pro- 
phets ; the tears of St. Peter ; the travails of St. 
Paul ; the sufferings of Saints and the blood of Mar- 
tyrs ; have yet to prove this humiliation of man, in 
order that he might be accepted in the Second Adam ; 
and these answers of our first parents may be undone 
or amended. And this healing is in the merciful 
sentence, "in sorrow shalt thou bring forth:" and 
^'in sorrow shalt thou eat," "till thon return unto 
the ground." Tea, the very voice of the accepted 
One shall be heard as it were from the ground, and 
speaking from the dust of death, " I am a worm and 
no man." Thus not in sorrow only but in death itself 
shall be found the means and hope of restoration; 
when " love shall be stronger than death ;" and dying 
in Christ; yea, exercised in dying shall bring forth 
more abundant life; for in conformity to Christ's 
death is life. 

Thus, in taking the shame, and the sorrow, and the 
death, Christ restores again to the Paradise of Qod. 
Por this Paradise is the Church of God, " the garden 
inclosed," on which, as " the winds blow, the spices flow 
out;" wherein is the " well of living waters *." And 

* St. Ambrose. ' Ps. xL 6 ; St. Aug. vol. iiL 467. 

^ Song of Solomon iv. 15, 16. 

tbere too is the Tree of Life which hath " leaves," it 
is said, "for the healing of the nations;" there is 
also in it a river not from the ground as in that 
Eden of old, but "proceeding out of the throne of 
Q-od and of the Lamb." Wherein He Himself says, 
" I will give to him that overcometh to eat of the 
tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise 
of Q-od." Eor, in Him they shall. He says, "have 
right to the tree of life'." In the centre of that 
garden ; yea, " in the midst of the Paradise of GK>d," 
restoring all again to love, and harmony, and peace, 
is He Himself; in whom is there a better knowledge 
and a better life which He will impart to them that 
love Him ; for in Him are all the treasures of wisdom 
and knowledge ; and " our life is hid with Christ in 
God." In that Paradise He Himself walks again 
with man, for it is said, " I will walk among you, and 
be your God, and ye shall be My people \" Tea, 
He hath clothed their shame again with the covering of 
His righteousness, and hath said, " They shall walk 
with Me in white '." And " they shall see His face." 
He hath again renewed them in His image. Nay 
more, by another transcendental endowment of which 
that in Paradise was the sign, on His rising from 
the dead, He hath " breathed into their nostrils the 
breath of life^" by the gift of His Spirit ; that in the 
likeness of His resurrection, "putting on the new 
man," they may be again "created after God in 
righteousness and true holiness*;" — that like Adam 
of old, they may keep His commandments, and by 
keeping them in this Paradise of trial which is His 

• Rev. ii. 7 ; xxii. 14. * Lev. xxvi. 1 2. 

a Rev. iii. 4. » St. John xx. 22. * Eph. iv. 24. 

10 ADAM. 

Church, thej may at length be fitter for a better 
Paradise, and the Presence of God in Heaven. 

From the creation of man unto this day Ids history 
has been, in those words of , the Psalmist, " In my pros- 
perity I said, I shall never be moved: Thou, Lord, 
of Thy goodness hast made my hill so strong. Thou 
tumedst away Thy face, and I was troubled *.'* And 
then, troubled and exercised with many sorrows under 
the displeasure of G-od he hath come to learn indeed 
to know both good and evil ; — the evil of departing 
from Gt)d ; our only good to be in Him ; His good- 
ness and His love in Christ ; good and evil, the depth 
and fulness of which we shall know even yet far 
better when we depart from the body, when it is 
known what heaven and hell are ; when Satan's words 
shall become true in a way he little thought, to the 
elect of God, when knowing both good and evil they 
shall be as gods, shall be "made partakers," as St. 
Peter says, "of the divine nature," shall be made 
one with the Son of God, " shall be like Him," and 
" awaking up after His likeness shall be satisfied with 

One word more in conclusion. As man fell by 
pride, his return must be by humility : his pride was 
the poison of Satan, " that ye may be as gods ;" but 
in order that we might be restored. He who was 
indeed Very God emptied Himself of all His glories 
that He might become man for our sakes. Instead 
of the forbidden Tree of Knowledge "He learned 
obedience by the things which He suffered." He has 
given us an example by which we might overcome 
in Him; and has set forth in Himself as it were, 

• Ps. XXX. 6, 7 ; St. Aug. vol. iii. 445. 

ADAM. 11 

an epitome of our life-long . conflict, in a trial cor- 
responding to that in which Adam fell, when in the 
wilderness He encountered and overcame that old 
serpent; not in a garden but in a desert; not in 
abundance but in hunger; not in manifestation of 
His divine power, but meekly shielding Himself 
against all temptations by the written Word of God ; 
showing us by what means we are to overcome, — that 
we have each of us in like manner with our first 
parents, an enemy to contend with, a trial to undergo, 
a Paradise to lose, a kingdom of Heaven set before us 
to obtain. And in order that we may be in Him 
equal to this conflict, He, ''the Last Adam," has 
for us " been made a quickening Spirit," and has given 
us to eat of His Body and Blood, as the antidote of 
death, and indwelling of immortality, that " as in Adam 
all die," all in Him may "be made alive." And 
this with a pledge that in greater fulness He will 
" give to him that overcometh " to partake of that life 
which is in Him, admitting even by death itself into 
a greater nearness with Himself and saying to the dying 
thief, " To day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise." 

These things are not then afar off", my brethren ; He 
Himself in death shall lead us unharmed by the 
" flaming sword " of the " Cherubims ;" yea, even this 
day, or to-morrow, or next week, you or I, if found 
worthy, may, by God's mercy, be admitted into that 
His mysterious Presence, of which He spake under 
the name of that garden of old. 



Hebrews xi. 4. 

" By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than 
Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God 
testifying of his gifts." 

The fall of our first parents is soon followed by a 
consummating act of wickedness, such as it will con- 
tinue to be to the end of time, the very type and 
sign of the world that slew Christ, even a brother's 
murder. But though crime has again thus speedily 
appeared in a form so intense, yet in one respect it 
has assumed a more consoling character, for there 
is now a bright and a dark side ; together with Cain 
there is Abel with the praise of God and the crown 
of goodness : from the same fountain-head there are 
now two streams parting asunder, which from hence- 
forth flow on to the end of the world, deepening 
and enlarging as they go. So soon were they to 
know both good and evil, the result of that first 
sin. Between those bom of the same womb and 
nurtured at the same breast, a separation is made. 
It is to be observed that Holy Scripture keeps 

ABEL Aim OAnr. 13 

this act in continual remembrance, as containing in 
itself all that character of evil which still survives and 
goes on. Our Lord speaks of Abel, saying to the 
Jews, that his blood should be required of that gene- 
ration*; when God visits it will be again brought 
to mind. St. Paul, mentioning Abel as the first in 
the catalogue of saints, uses the memorable words 
that "being dead, he yet speaketh;" which seems 
to attach an emphatic teaching to his death; and 
afterwards, when speaking of the Blood of Christ, 
he adds, "which speaketh better things than that 
of Abel." Whereby he implies that the death of 
Abel does still speak, as does that of Christ, although 
it speaks of judgment. Thus he comes down to us 
with a voice which is heard from the ground. And 
with him necessarily Cain also. St. John brings the 
first murderer into especial remembrance, when speak- 
ing of one that loves not his brother, " Not as Cain,'* 
he says, " who was of that wicked one." Our Lord 
seems to allude to him in that warning to the Jews, 
" Te are of your father the devil : he was a miu'derer 
from the beginning." And St. Jude as crowning 
the corruption of the last days, "They have gone 
in the way of Cain." Thus did the dimensions of 
this crime at once fill as it were the earth and 
all time; like some fiery rocket, which, culminating 
in an instant, has risen to the sky, and falls 
again in a thousand fragments to the earth, holding 
in itself and scattering abroad all lesser crimes of ill 

Moreover, great as is this crowning deed of wicked- 
ness, yet herein is given " the valley of Achor for a 
door of hope'," while we behold in Abel the very 

1 St. Matt, xxiii. ^, SO. * Hos. u. l<k 


tjrpe of all acceptableness, and in contrast with his 
brother Cain, in the strongest manner, are good and 
evil set before us ; that in the black cloud which then 
came on the morning of the world, we may see the 
bow of promise, the power of Grod's grace, and by 
cleaving to Him suck out the riches of His goodness. 
The testimony of Holy Scripture to the character of 
Abel is very clear and decisive. Our Lord Himself 
calls Abel *^ the righteous Abel;" St. John says that 
Cain slew him because " his works were righteous ;" 
and St. Paul, that "by faith he offered a more 
excellent," or as it is in the original " a more abun- 
dant sacrifice," and " obtained the testimony of Gtoi 
that he was righteous." Thus goodness and faith 
are in Him combined ; and the same appears in the 
account in Genesis, for God says to Cain, ** If thou 
doest well, shalt thou not be accepted ?" from which it 
is clear that the acceptance of Abel was because he 
did well. And the very nature of his offering ex- 
pressed an acceptable &ith; it was "the firstlings of 
his flock, and the fat thereof," of the first and the 
best he offered to God, the crown and flower of his 
substance ; " the firstfruits " and " the fat," both of 
which God Himself afterwards prescribed in the Law, 
taking this act of Abel as the pattern of after pity. 
Moreover it was the Lamb of the flock by whose 
skins they were covered from the shame of sin by 
God Himself. Such an offering by one of a meek and 
blameless life expressed both thanksgiving to Gt>d : and 
by sacrifice an acknowledgment of death, and of him- 
self worthy to die : it was a call for mercy, a pleading 
with God for pardon. And He who reads the heart 
and called him by His grace, knew it to be expressive 
of Christ. The act of itself speaks and must speak ; 
and this he had to perfect by a yet higher sacrifice. 

ABEL JlSJ) gain. 15 

that of himself; for, on account of his acting in this 
manner towards G-od he suffered even unto death, the 
first of martyrs. 

And all this appears the more from the contrast 
with Cain ; he also brings an offering, though it be not 
the earliest or the choicest, it is of the fruits of the 
ground which he tilled ; here also is worship, and it 
might have been acceptable ; the Law also has its 
offering of the fruits of the ground : but so it is, it has 
not the savour of Christ, the Lamb and the Blood ; it 
has not that which should go with a sacrifice, penitence; 
nor that which can alone give value to a gift, the 
heart of the worshipper. " K thou bring thy gift to 
the altar, and there remember that thy brother hath 
ought against thee, leave there thy gift." Ifc pleaded 
not for mercy ; and it gave not mercy, which is the 
better part of sacrifice. In the words of the Law it 
has not the salt, nor the oil, nor the incense, was 
without goodness, without grace, without prayer. 
He is wroth, and his " countenance is fallen," turning 
to the ground on which the curse of sin was ; whereas, 
Abel was all love, and his countenance was lifted up 
on high, as looking for and expecting what G-od would 
do. Nor is Cain without warning, for God Himself 
expostulates with him, and shows him the better part. 
He is not, he says, his brother's keeper ; be it so ; such 
is even now the language of the world ; but Christ 
and they that are in Him are of another mind ; His 
attribute is the good Shepherd that layeth down His 
life for the sheep ; He is the keeper of His brethren, 
even at the cost of His own life. And Abel is His 
prototype and martyr, and in some sense His repre- 
sentative, offering up a sacrifice as the High Priest of 
God in a fallen world. It matters not whether any 


thing was then explicitelj revealed respecting Him 
Who should bruise the serpent's head ; the covenant of 
God sometimes influences the heart in a way which 
passeth understanding. And of the highest saving faith, 
our Lord says, " Elesh and blood hath not revealed it 
unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." The 
Father draws unto the Son, and the Son brings unto 
the Father, in mysterious ways, without express know- 
ledge. It is not knowledge that characterizes faith, but 
trust in God, which receives though it knows not, 
but in receiving knows with a better knowledge, that 
God is love. And this may have been Abel's faith. 
An ancient bishop says of his sacrifice, '' Isaiah 
preached of the Lamb dumb before His shearers : John 
the Baptist pointed out the Lamb of God : Abel by 
oflering up the Lamb in significancy set forth the 

Whatever his knowledge might have been, it is 
enough that his oflering was for Christ's sake accepted, 
and that oflering is the Lamb which must needs speak 
of that Lamb which was slain from the foundation 
of the world : for all was ordered of God in him who 
was first predestined, and called by His grace, and by 
His grace sanctified, and perfected by His grace, and 

And here observe from the very beginning the mark 
of the elect and of the reprobate : the love of God is the 
sign of the elect : and cupidity or self-love of the evil. 
Cain kept to himself the first and the best; Abel 
oflered the first and best to God. Nor was this all, it 
was in faith, and it was the oflering of one who did 
well, and was in life acceptable with God: it was 

• St, rJreg. in Job xxxviii. 31. 


himself that he had first given to God, and of this 
that sacrifice was the sign; and he was allowed to 
prove this by having his own life also made to be a yet 
more acceptable sacrifice and more lively token of 
the death of Christ: as the Christian martyrs who 
gave first their goods, and then themselves also to 

The crime of Cain was precisely that of the Jews, 
envy ; " the chief priests had delivered Him from envy ;" 
and perhaps more than any other it partakes of the 
likeness of Satan, who was bent on the destruction of 
mankind, not from anger, lust, or covetousness, but 
from envy and hate of goodness. Cain was the first 
Antichrist, and an image of the last. He already sets 
forth " the synagogue of Satan " and the Jew, which 
preserves his likeness unto the end. " And the Lord 
said unto Cain, Where is thy brother ? And he said, I 
know not." Thus like him who was " a liar and a 
murderer from the beginning," he would deny what 
he had done, if he could ; but so is it with the Jew 
unto this day, he has slain his brother, even Him who 
was, like himself, of the seed of Abraham ; and he is 
asked. Where is He ? even by the voice of God, speak- 
ing through the Scriptures unto this day. And he 
answers, " I know not." Yet it is he who might and 
should have been his brother's keeper. Law and 
Prophets had consigned Him to his keeping; but 
cast out from the presence of God he wanders forth 
unto the end of the world, bearing witness to what he 
hath done, — the second Cain who hath slain the great 
Shepherd of the sheep. And God hath set His mark 
upon him that he dies not. Other nations and other 
religions melt into each other, and are lost and changed, 
but the Jewish people are preserved, and change not. 


for they have on them the mark of God. They wander 
through the earth, and find no rest, for " they under- 
stand not the Sabbath of the heart *,'* which is Christ. 
"I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond," says Cain, 
and it is the sentence of God that he shall be so : 
" the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot 
rest. There is no peace, saith my God, to the Vicked*." 
Already, like Judas, he hath found the weight of his 
sin: "My punishment is greater than I can bear;" 
and hath the fear of death, for " every one," he says, 
"that findeth me shall slay me ;" as a sign of what shall 
be hereafter, fearing death, he shall not be able to die. 
True it is that there is another character and 
appearance in the eyes of the world, for with them 
"these are the ungodly, these prosper in the world'." 
The greatest of all cities, even that city of Eome 
which put to death Christ and His martyrs, is said 
to have been founded by one who slew his brother. 
So it is with Cain. It is added, and " he builded a city, 
and called it after his son's name." He continues to live 
on to old age, he begets children, and sees his children's 
children; the founders of mighty cities, wherein the harp 
and the organ are heard, and their cattle range on a 
thousand hills, inventors in brass and iron are there, 
of works of art, of music, and poetry ; " they planted 
and builded, they married and gave in marriage ;" but 
Abel is cut off childless in the morning of his days. 
So is it as the world judges ; but oh, how far otherwise 
in truth ! for he is with God, he lives to God and with 
God. While they, filling up the measure of their sin, 
are heaping up unto themselves wrath " against the 

* St. Aug. vol. viii. 382. 385, and vol. vii. 860. 
« Isa. Ivii. 20, 21. * Ps. Uxiii. 12. 


revelation of the righteous judgment of G-od," till the 
windows of Heaven shall be opened, and the great 
deep rise from below, and wash them all away. It is 
an awful sign to live on adding sin to sin. It was as 
the voice of Gt)d already going forth upon earth, to 
teach mankind that there was a better life hid with 
God, that life upon earth was not life without Him, 
but death. If the sinner continued to live on it was 
but as a sign of the long-suffering of God that He was 
not willing that any should perish, but that all should 
come to repentance. 

Thus early was there given to the world, as it were, 
an expressive image of Christ's death, whereby He 
should bruise the serpent's head, while he attacked His 
heel — a more worthy representation than that of slain 
beasts. Cain, the firstborn, is of the earth, earthy ; 
Abel, the sign of the heavenly, speaks of the Lord from 
Heaven. As Isaac, the child of promise, was born after 
the son of the bondwoman ; as Jacob was after Esau ; 
as the Jew was the elder brother, and the believing 
Gentile the younger; as the first Adam was of the 
earth, and the second Adam of Heaven, so was it now 
foreshown in Cain and Abel. And "cut off from the land 
of the living " he bears witness that the inheritance is 
not of earth, but with God ; that in death and after 
death is his victory. And while thus in mystery he 
speaks of Christ's death, Seth is given to mankind on 
earth, whose children are called " the sons of God." 
Thus it may be said, " he shall see his seed, he shall 
prolong his days '." And yet further, for while Seth 
is made to be a pledge of Christ's resurrection. His 
ascension is set forth in Enoch, who walked with God 

' Isa. Uii. 10. 
C 2 


and was translated, having first borne witness tbat 
" the Lord cometh, with ten thousand of His saints, 
to execute judgment *." 

Nor is it only in sign and figure that Christ's 
death is set forth in Abel the first of martyrs, but 
he is also given to be the example of all acceptable 
faithfulness. In him have we the firstfruits of the 
City of God; the fulness of the last and crowning 
beatitude ; " Blessed are they which are persecuted for 
righteousness' sake, for their's is the kingdom of Hea- 
ven." " For not only," says St. Augustine, " from the 
bodily presence of Christ and His Apostles, but from 
righteous Abel unto the end of time, amidst the 
persecutions of the world, and the consolations of 
God, the Church advances onward in her pilgrim- 
age';" "Always enduring earth and hoping for 
Heaven »." 

" Thy brother's blood," said God to Cain, "crieth 
unto Me from the ground;" and so it continues 
to do until the end; the blood of righteous Abel, 
says our Lord, shall be required when God visits: 
the blood of Abel, says St. Paul, is still speaking: 
with the souls of those that are under the altar it 
cries with a voice ever louder and more loud, " How 
long, O Lord, Holy and True, dost Thou not judge 
and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the 
earth*?" The blood of Abel thus cries from the 
ground, " and the Heavens above," says St. Ambrose, 
" and all things that are in Heaven, Sun, Moon, and 
Stars, Thrones, Dominions, Principalities, and Powers, 
Cherubim and Seraphim'," take up the cry, and 

» Jude 14, 15. » St. Aug. vii. 860. 

» St. Aug. iv. 2264. » Rev. vi. 10. 

* De Cain et Abel, lib. ii. cap. 10. 


absolve not the guilt. But although the blood of 
Abel thus cries from the ground, yet it is not Abel 
himself that thus speaks. It signifies rather that the 
wrongs of Abel and of all the meek upon earth are 
thus remembered of God. He puts their tears into 
His bottle, and these things are noted in His book ; 
their sufferings and woes for His sake are numbered 
by Him, and not forgotten. " Here is the patience 
of the saints *." All things are with God which have 
been done to them " whose names are written in the 
book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of 
the world*." "Eight dear in His sight is their 
death:" and He whom Saul persecuted is slain in 

The very silence of Abel is expressive ; it seems to 
speak of Him who as a sheep before his shearers was 
dumb, and as a lamb brought unto the slaughter, 
opened not His mouth. His blood calls from the 
ground, but he himself is silent ; he appeals not for 
vengeance even in death, as if saying, " My cause is in 
Thy hands ; Thou shalt answer for me, O Lord my 
God." He " committed himself unto Him that judgeth 
righteously." All that is said of Abel ; and all that is 
left unsaid by him would indicate that he in character 
laboured to be like that meek and innocent victim 
which he offered up in sacrifice to God. And such 
Abel seems to represent in all times and countries 
unto the end ; them to whom the Father, it may be in 
some hidden manner unknown of man, reveals His 
Son, and by some secret bond in the mystery of godli- 
ness, knits them unto Him. They are not their own ; 
they are of Him, and in Him, and depart to be more 

* Rev. xiv. 12. * Rev. xiii. 8. 


intimately with Him. The world knoweth them not 
as it knew Him not— it knoweth not from whence 
they come nor whither they go. These are strangers 
upon earth ; the world hateth them because they are 
of God. Tlieir treasure and their heart are with Him ; 
their treasure, because they give Him the first and 
best ; and their heart, because their affections must 
needs follow their actions. They devote to Him the 
first and the best of all ; the first and best of their 
substance, the first and best of their time, the fiirst 
and best of their affections. 

Thus in every age and nation Abel yet speaketh ; 
each carries on his example, confirms it by others of 
like character and circumstance, and leaves it yet to 
speak as it will unto the end ; every place has those 
that " have gone in the way of Cain," and also those 
that patiently suffer; even among children there is 
often, alas, a Cain and Abel — in families, in every 
village and neighbourhood — among nations, and in 
the wars of nations. It goes on like one continued 
chain, still adding link to link ; when the last is 
added it reverberates unto the first ; evil as well as 
good are as parts of one body ; and each may find in 
himself whether he has mostly the marks of Cain or 
of Abel. 

"When St. John states that, " Whosoever hateth his 
brother is a murderer," and connects this with Cain*, 
he seems to refer to our Lord's own declaration, that 
though in the Law of Moses it is written, "Thou 
shalt do no murder," yet in the eyes of the all-seeing 
Judge, " Whosoever is angry with his brother without 
a cause ^," shall come under the like condemnation. 

« 1 John iii. 12. 15. ^ St. Matt. v. 21. 


It is this which adds such force to that early deed, 
that there is a lesson connected with it which comes 
to us, not on tables of stone, but by the finger and 
Holy Spirit of G-od, inscribed on the fleshly tables of 
the heart, containing in itself the new and better law 
of love — a law written in the blood, not of Abel, but 
of Christ. 



Genesis v. 29. 

'^ And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort 
us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the 
ground which the Lord hath cursed.*' 

Aftee the death of Abel mankind multiplied, cities 
were built, the arts increased, iniquity abounded and 
God was forgotten ; and then we see one man amidst 
the universal corruption, building an ark, and in so 
doing set at naught and mocked. This was Noah, 
and we may now inquire what was the character of 
one so pre-eminent. We cannot know the deep 
things of the Spirit of G-od, nor the heart of a good 
t man in which as in deep waters His footsteps are ; 
but on meditating on what is written we may gain 

3 much. 

f The first point which strikes us in Noah is his 

extreme solitude, he stands alone in a fallen world ; 
when the great wickedness is described, it is added, . 
" But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord," the 
one and only one ; and again, " The Lord said unto 

KOAH. 25 

Noah, thee have I seen righteous before Me in this 
generation." It is for this that he stands out so 
remarkable beyond all^the Saints in Scripture, that it 
was amidst the utter corruption of that generation. 
He stands alone, like one solitary pillar in the midst 
of a ruin. But this is not all, for his character is 
given yet more particularly, " Noah was a just man 
and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with 
God.*' This remarkable and beautiful expression that 
he '^ walked mth God," had been used of Enoch 
before Gt)d took him. Moreover the righteousness of 
Noah and his consequent power with God is shown 
by the mention of him in Ezekiel, " Though these 
three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they 
should deliver but their own souls by their righteous- 
ness, saith the Lord God*." Now as Job was re- 
markable for intercession, interceding first of all ** con- 
tinually" for his sons; and then afterwards by the 
express command of God for his three friends*; and 
as Daniel is known as the signal intercessor with 
Gt>d for his people ; so we may conclude &om Noah*s 
being mentioned thus together with them that he was 
especially known of God for his intercessions in be- 
half of that wicked world in which he lived. And as 
such prayers are certain in some way to be answered 
of God, it is probable that to these, his prayers, his 
own family were given him, to be the origin of a new 
world, and in whom the covenant of God might 

In addition to these there is also another circum- 
stance which we know of Noah ; he is mentioned by 
St. Peter as " a preacher of righteousness." This 

1 Ezek. xiv. 14. ' Job i. 5, and xlii. 8. 

26 IfOAH. 

description taken with all the rest has great weight ; 
for it indicates that he was not only, like Samuel and 
Daniel, engaged in mourning and praying for others, 
not a silent sufferer only as Abel ; but that like the 
Prophets and Apostles he pleaded with them, preach- 
ing righteousness. And this might have been during 
the hundred and twenty years wherein God gave 
warning of what He was about to do, as St. Peter 
says, " When once the longsuffering of God waited 
in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing *." 
Or it might have been all his life before that time ; 
until at last when his preaching had been long in 
vain, that sign was given, when, as St. Paul speaks of it, 
" being warned of God, moved with fear, he prepared 
an ark to the saving of his house, by the which he 
condemned the world ^." All these things serve to 
indicate what the life and character of Noah was. 

But it is on his Name, — the signification of it, and 
the emphatic mention of it in Scripture, as given by 
prophetic inspiration when he was bom, that £ would 
most dwell. And his father Lamech, it is said, 
"called his name Noah," i. e. " rest," or "comfort," 
"saying. This same shall comfort us concerning our 
work and toil of our hands, because of the ground 
which the Lord hath cursed." Scripture then, by 
this account, draws our attention to the " rest " and 
"comfort" which Noah imports amidst the troubles 
of the world. The words seem to imply some great 
alleviation from the evils of the fall. But yet if we 
look to the mere surface of the history, it is, as 
St. Ambrose observes, rather the contrary, for in his 
time wickedness advanced to such an accumulation 

» J Pet iii. 20. * Heb. xi. 7. 

NOAH. 27 

and height of misery as to hring down the destruction 
of the world *. To this point I would more especially 
turn, not only because the mention of it in Genesis 
seems to draw attention to that circumstance, but 
also because our Lord Himself has in so memorable 
and marked a manner mentioned Noah and his days 
as the sign of the days of the Son of Man ; and it has 
always been observed in the Church that the history 
of Noah is quite full of type and prophecy respecting 
the Church of Christ in the latter days. Indeed 
even among the tombs of the early martyrs unto 
this day some of the most frequent emblems of 
the Christian fsuth are taken from Noah, and the ark, 
and the dove. And that the very name of rest and 
comfort, in its fuller acceptation, signifies Christ, is 
obvious unto all. "Woe to him who looks to any one 
else for his comfort and rest. 

Thus Noah seems to imply that there will be " a 
man " in "Whom there will be rest and comfort in a 
perishing world. "And a man shall be," as the 
Prophet Isaiah says, " an hiding place from the wind, 
and a covert from the tempest \" In the first ages 
of the world there was a strong expectation that the 
great Deliverer was already come or coming ; and in 
answer to this expectation men were given to be signs 
of Him. Four persons especially stand forth in the 
old world as it were the pillars of it on account of this 
faith ; as Abel is the sign of Christ's Death ; Seth of 
His Eesurrection ; Enoch of His Ascension ; so Noah 
sets forth the rest and comfort which is to be found in 
Christ in the latter days when " iniquity shall abound." 

* See St. Amb. De Noe et Arcd, lib. i. cap. I. 

* Isa. xxxil 2. 

28 iroAH. 

He is the depository of the promise, as God says to 
him, " "With thee will I establish My covenant^." Of 
him Christ shall be bom; and St. Paul designates 
him as the ''heir of the righteousness which is by 

Thus Noah stood alone in the world as it were the 
Second Adam, the New Man, the type of Him in 
Whom alone the Father is well pleased ; of Him Who 
is alone " perfect " before God and " righteous ;" of 
Him Who hath found grace, walking with God, for 
" God was with Him* ;" of Him Who hath promised 
to be with His Church unto the end ; Who in His 
ministers and the stewards of His mysteries is warning, 
and preaching to, and interceding for a fallen world. 
With Noah the covenant is again renewed ; and by an 
express warrant from God all the creatures are made 
subject to him. " And the dread of you," it is said, 
" shall be upon every beast . . . into your hands they 
are delivered "." Thus was he the type of the Second 
Adam, of Whom it is said in the 8th Psalm, '' Thou 
hast put all things in subjection under His feet ; all 
sheep and oxen ; yea, and the beasts of the field." 

As there were the second tables of stone, the first 
being broken ; a second covenant with man after the 
fall, when the first in Paradise had been forfeited ; a 
second temple after the first was destroyed ; a second 
people taken into covenant with God when the Jews 
were rejected ; so now there is a second world which 
has the promise, the first being lost, in token of " the 
new heavens and new earth wherein dwelleth righte- 
ousness;" wherein, as St. John says, ''there shall be 

' Gen. vi. 18. » Heb. xi. 7. 

» Acts X. 38. 10 Gen. ix. 2. 

NOAH. 29 

no more curse ^" " This same shall comfort us because 
of the ground which the Lord hath cursed." 

Of this great redemption Noah is the sign, and as it 
were the second parent, as it is stated in the Evange- 
lical Prophet, " For this is as the waters of Noah unto 
Me ;" and then in explanation it is added, " for the 
mountains shall depart,and the hills be remoyed,but My 
kindness shall not depart from thee, nor the covenant 
of My peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath 
mercy on thee '." The same is again exhibited to us 
in a very beautifxd and striking figure in the Prophet 
Ezekiel, which is afterwards renewed in the revelation 
of St. John, when Christ is represented as sitting on 
the throne of His Kingdom. *' Upon the likeness of 
the throne," says the Prophet of Chebar, was " as the 
appearance of a man," and '* round about was as the 
appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day 
of rain *." St. John says, " and there was a rainbow 
round about the throne in sight like unto an emerald*." 
Thus "the faithful witness in Heaven" given to Noah 
still continues unto the end, because it speaks of the 
everlasting Gospel. " The bow shall be in the cloud, 
and I will look upon it," said God, "that I may 
remember the everlasting covenant *." 

And hence more particularly in Noah, " the Spirit 
that beareth witness," sets forth " the Water and the 
Blood," or the two Sacraments : one in the flood and 
the ark, as St. Peter says, " The like figure whereunto 
baptism doth now save us by the resurrection of Jesus 
Christ." And the other Sacrament afterwards in the 

' Rev. xxii. 3. » Tsa. liv. 9, 10. 

3 Ezek. i. 26. 28. * Rev. iv. 3. 

* Gen. ix. 16. 

30 TfOJLB, 

blood at that time so expressly set apart, as so emphati- 
cally repeated in the Law : " Be sure that thou eat not 
the blood, for the blood is the life thereof •.'* " For it 
is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul '." 
Thus our Lord Himself said, " For My flesh is meat 
indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth 
My flesh, and drinketh My blood dwelleth in Me, and 
I in him.'* 

Thus strongly then is Christ represented to us in 
Noah ; and these are great matters for our contem- 
plation, when we consider His own awful words, in 
calling our attention to Noah. For when 5!e Himself 
says, " as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in 
the days of the Son of Man," this resemblance in the 
times should rivet our attention to the resemblance to 
Himself also. Now a promise of rest and comfort, 
indicated by the name of Noah, implies great and 
signal need of comfort and rest, and therefore times of 
tribulation and trial, not necessarily to all men, but 
to the good ; and this is shown in our Lord's own 
words, for the rest and comfort in Himself which 
He promises is to them that are much weighed down 
and oppressed : " Come unto Me, all ye that travail 
and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." 

The times to which our Lord likens these the latter 
days are then the days of Noah, that is, the hundred 
and twenty years of his preaching: these are the 
days wherein He Himself warns men of coming 
judgment, wherein, if we may so apply the words of 
St. Peter, "the longsuffering of Q-od waits in the 
days of the Son of Man, while the ark of Christ's 
Church is a preparing, wherein few are saved ;" and 

* See Deut. xii. 23—28. ' Lev. xvii. II. 

NOAH. 31 

the point of resemblance which our Lord takes is not 

the violence or great crimes then in the world ; but 

a general forgetfulness of approaching judgment while 

mankind are taken-up " with the cares and pleasures of 

this life." " They bought, they sold, they planted and 

builded, they were marrying, and giving in marriage 

until the day." They are precisely the same things 

which our Lord described as the reasons why men 

would not receive the Gospel, and which have been 

fulfilled from the time in which He spake even unto 

this day. For though He likens the Gospel to a 

feast, and though Noah signifies " rest" and "comfort," 

and the ark a place of refuge, yet they all, He says, 

with one consent began to make excuse ; and these 

excuses, He states to be the very same reasons which 

He mentions in the days of Noah : " I have bought 

a piece of land, and must needs go and see it ; " or, 

" I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come." 

Moreover, while all this is going on, this indifference 

and carelessness respecting the future, we have the 

same God, the same Jesus Christ, in the Book of 

Genesis as we have in the Gospels, mourning with 

infinite tenderness and compassion over mankind. In 

the former are the wonderful and affecting words, 

" And it repented the Lord that He had made man on 

the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart." This 

exactly corresponds with what we read in the Gospels 

of our Lord Himself, as in those His expressions: 

"Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Beth- 

saida ! " and the like : and in that memorable account 

that when He saw Jerusalem He wept over it, and said, 

" O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, bow often would I have 

gathered thy children together as a hen gathereth her 

brood under hep wings," i. e. foreseeing their danger 

82 IfOAH. 

which they knew not of, " but ye would not ;" and in 
the evangelical parable He calls His angels together 
over one sinner that He has rescued, saying, " Eejoice 
with Me, for I have found the sheep which I had lost.** 

It is then in such days of great outward worldliness 
and sensuality, while Q-od is " grieved," and His " Spirit 
striving " in vain with man, warning him of that Judg- 
ment which in the " evil imaginations of his heart " 
he sets aside and will not consider, that the example of 
Noah is given us. Now when our Lord tells us that 
if we come to Him He will give us rest ; yet at the 
same time He teaches us that this coming to Him 
implies our taking upon us His yoke ; and though He 
adds that that "yoke is easy," and that "burden 
light,*' yet in other places He speaks of it as the very 
Gross itself, which, though His martyrs and saints 
have indeed found fiill of joy and comfort, yet to 
flesh and blood it must be in itself burdensome and 
grievous. The dove of Noah returned to him because 
she could find no rest for the sole of her foot else- 
where, and he put forth his hand and received her 
into the ark with joy ; but she had returned to the 
confinement of the ark instead of that liberty which 
was abroad in the world ; and there is not a soul on 
earth but has oftentimes occasion to say, " Oh that I 
had wings like a dove ! for then would I fly away, and 
be at rest. Lo, then would I get me away far off", 
and remain in the wilderness I *' But of these very few 
indeed are they whose prayers in the Holy Spirit take 
the wings of the dove, — which though it hath lien among 
the pots yet is covered with silver wings, — and depart 
from the world to be with Christ. 

And thus if Noah signifies comfort, and the great 
Comforter now in the world, yet he was one that 

NOAH. 33 

had taken upon him the yoke of God, he was "a 
righteous man," ** perfect in his generation," " walking 
with God." In building the ark he was, sajs St. Paul, 
"moved with fear," in faith receiving the awful 
warning " of God of things not seen as yet." The 
difference between him and the world around him was 
that he realized, expected, looked to the judgment 
wliich God was about to bring ; but the world was as 
it is to this day, in the glass of Gtod*a Word, shutting its 
eyes and ears against warnings of the future. " They 
did eat, they drank, they married and gave in marriage, 
till Noah entered into theark, and the flood came." The 
maxim of the world always is, as it then was, "Let us eat 
and drink, for to-morrow we die." But the Christian's 
precept is, " Let us fast and watch, for to-morrow we 
die, and after death the judgment ;" or, in his Master's 
words, " Take heed that your heart be not overcharged 
with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of 
this life, and so that day overtake you unawares." 
" "Watch and pray, for ye know not when the time is." 
To accept in faith and fear the doctrine of a sudden, 
speedy, and eternal Judgment will fill any one with dis- 
quietude, and make him feel his need of rest and 
comfort ; and to such it is that this promise is given. 
He will feel his need of far other consolations than 
these which the world supplies from without; and 
most men have had this impression, and felt this want 
for a time, as, for instance, when the dead body of a 
friend or near relative has been Ijring before them. 
For in that case they know the Judgment hath in some 
sense already overtaken, and that too speedily ; and 
they see it must shortly be so with themselves, and 
they are moved ; and while this impression lasts they 
seek and find rest in Christ, and comfort in the great 

3^ NOAH. 

Comforter ; but when the storm has been stilled and 
the waters of that affliction abate, they again, like 
Noah's dove, leave the ark and, may be, return to it no 

And now to look more closely at the example of 
Noah, and consider it in conjunction with the warnings 
of Q-od ; it is evident that a deep and abiding, nay, an 
overwhelming sense of coming Judgment, under which 
the Christian is to live, is to affect the heart in the 
world, and not out of the world ; or rather is to have 
the effect of taking him out of the world while he is in 
the world. And this is the difficulty, he is to walk 
with God, i. e. with Christ risen, whilst in the world. 
For Noah himself, while he " walked with God," yet 
was engaged in those earthly occupations which it is 
said in the case of the rest of mankind withdrew their 
heart from the great hereafter. He married and gave 
in marriage. He was " a husbandman, and planted ®." 
Nay, as he was a " righteous man," this implies that 
he had dealings with mankind, wherein righteousness 
or integrity is shown : he bought and sold as other 
men. It is then in these very same occupations, even 
in the same field, in the same mill, and the same bed, 
one shall be taken and the other left, when the sepa- 
ration is made. It depends on the keeping or not 
keeping of the heart in the same employments : as St. 
Paul states the same : '' Brethren, the time is short : 
it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as 
though they had none ; . , . they that rejoice as though 
they rejoiced not ; they that buy as though they 
possessed not; ... for the fashion of this world passeth 
away*." And thus when the Psalmist speaks of 

• Gen. ix. 20. » 1 Cor. vii. 29-31. 

yoAH. 85 

those who " forget God '* being " cast into hell," he 
adds, '' but the patient abiding of the meek shall not 

It is not then in taking us out of these things, but 
by taking the heart out of them that the change is 
needed : and so far from such avocations being made 
an excuse for neglecting the Gospel, and its great 
injunction of watchfulness and prayer, they are the 
most urgent reasons for them. Instead of its being said, 
*'I have bought a yoke of oxen," or the Hke, "and 
therefore I cannot come," when God calls, it should 
be said, " I have bought or sold, and therefore I needs 
must watch and pray more earnestly, for death is 
found in such things to all who do not. I am engaged 
in domestic concerns, and therefore I must watch and 
pray the more continually, lest I be too much taken up 
in them, and be found sleeping when the time comes." 
We daily need bread for the body, because we have 
earthly work to do ; shall we not equally need daily 
bread for the soul, because we have also heavenly work 
to do, and the night cometh when no man can work — 
that work which if found undone, must be left undone 
for ever ? 

X> 2 



Genesis xxii. 11. 

** And the angel of the Lord called nnto him out of heaven, and 
said, Abraham, Abraham." 

Thebe is nothing in H0I7 Scripture, unless it be in 
the Gospels themselves, of such awful and moving 
interest, as the life of Abraham ; and when he has 
come to that crowning trial of all, and God calls to him 
out of Heaven, repeating his name, naj, as if not 
content with that, like one among men, who, on some 
great crisis of joy and thankfulness, hastens to repeat 
again his deep sense of what has been done, when, I 
say, God calls to him a " second time out of Heaven," 
saying, "By Myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for be- 
cause thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld 
thy son, thine only son: that in blessingi will bless thee." 
So thrilling and overwhelming is this awful moment of 
interest, that there is nothing equal to it in the history 
of man. He has obtained the victory of all victories, 
and the highest praise of God ; he has, in the course 
of a few hours, done an act of which the consequences 

ABBAHAlkf. 37 

are felt unto the end of time. It is as if the Heavens 
themselves had been in deep and awful suspense 
watching what he would do, whether he would be equal 
to that great trial of all trials that Ood had put upon 
him ; and when he " stretched forth his hand to slay 
his son," then all the creations of God and the Angels 
of Heaven rejoiced with a great and mighty rejoicing. 
The Angel of the Covenant, nay Q-od Himself, called 
aloud &om Heaven, repeating his name, and again a 
second time declared and confirmed the blessing. "No 
occasion has been like this ; and probably none will be 
till that awful moment itself which resembles it, when 
it shall be said by Christ Himself to him that has 
overcome, the true son in the faith of the faithful 
Abraham, " Well done, thou good and faithful servant, 
. . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." 

This transcendent consummation of all trials had 
this in it above all, that it was made to have a resem- 
blance to the act of the Almighty Father Himself, in 
giving up His Only Beloved Son to die for mankind, 
to be an imitation of the perfection of Divine love itself. 
Here is a father for God's love willing to be fatherless; 
and in that willingness made the father of nations, and 
of all that are in Christ. O wonderful old man ! O 
wonder of all wonders! O joy of all joys! Well 
indeed may that child be to thee the name of joy and 
wonder ; God hath indeed " made thee to IcmgJi^^ and 
his mother, and "all that hear shall laugh*" with 
thee, " at the strangeness of that salvation." O faith 
without parallel, grounded in love! O love strong 
as death, high as Heaven, image of the love of God 
for man. The death-pang of trial is over, and 

* Gen. XXI. 6. 


the crown is won. And, oh ! who but God can know 
what those three days of travail were to Abraham ? 
and what it was when " on the third day he lifted up 
his eyes, and saw the place afar off," what the struggle 
between faith and affection, between nature and grace, 
the yearnings of all that was human and the con- 
straining power of all that was Divine ? the tender child 
on the one hand, and on the other the knife, the cords, 
and the wood ; the child of his love, the son of his old 
age, the heir of the promise, the child on whom were 
centred the hopes of all that Q-od had given, and was 
about to give ; " thy son, thine only son, whom thou 
lovest," as God Himself said ; the child by his side, 
with the affecting, simple inquiry, " Father, where is 
the lamb ?" But blessed be God Who called him by 
His grace, and gave him to hear His call, and to per- 
severe unto the end ! His " light affliction " was but 
" for a moment," and hath wrought for him *' an eter- 
nal weight of glory." 

And now as He Who put upon him this great 
burden knew that he would attend to His voice, and 
gave him power to do it, let us consider how from 
step to step through his life God had called him on by 
little and little, and he had answered every call, till it 
was given him to hear and to answer this great 
summons, the perfection and crown of all. As 
he " rose up early in the morning," and had three 
days of painful trial before him, till he came to 
the Moimt of God, in like manner had his whole 
life from the £rst been a preparation for this great 
act. Even from childhood we may suppose that God 
had been dealing with him, and as the looks of a loving 
child answer the light of a father's countenance, so 
grace answered to grace ; and among the Chaldees, his 


family and kindred, he habituated his heart to listen 
to, and hear and understand that still small voice that 
pleadeth with every man, till the call came and the 
trial. Then he arose at God's bidding, leaving Ur of 
the Chaldees, the seat of his childhood and youth, and 
dwelt at Haran. Then came from God a second call 
to leave his country, and his kindred, and his father's 
house, and leaving Haran, he " went forth to go into 
the land of Canaan ; and into the land of Canaan he 
came ^." Most, if not all persons, have had these first 
and early calls by God's Spirit, but in most cases these 
calls have not been answered by the heart, and there- 
fore what the advance onward would have been has 
not been known. "We have been all called from the 
first to leave the country wherein we were born, to 
seek " a better country, that is an heavenly," though 
we be in it for a time but strangers, with the enemy in 
the land. Nay, we know not beforehand not only not 
the sufferings we have to undergo, but above all we 
know not the treasures and delights of that kingdom 
of grace, as they become afterwards known to the true 
believer. Por obedience comes first, and knowledge 
afterwards ; God calls, and faith obeys the call, know- 
ing that when God commands He gives grace to fulfil. 
'Now from this beginning in Abraham what was not 
to be expected? He had already cast the world 
behind him from an unconquerable trust in God ; poor 
in all things as yet, but rich in faith, " he went out, 
knowing not whither he went ;" and when he came to 
the place where he was promised a possession, he had 
" not so much as to set his foot on." And again, it 
was to be " an inheritance to his seed," but " he had 

* Gen. xii. 1. 5. 


no child '." To all but the eye of faith there was nothing 
but disappointment, and he was deceived of his high 
expectations ; but he strengthened himself hj behold- 
ing Him that is invisible ; it was this disappointment 
and frustration of his hopes, this very weakness, that 
made him strong; and when he found it thus, " he looked 
for a city which hath foundations, whose Builder and 
Maker is God *.'* The enlargement of his heart, the 
raising of his spirit, the strengthening of his soul, was 
from this, which would have otherwise been straitening, 
depressing, weakening ; and he confessed himself " a 
stranger and a pilgrim upon earth *." He put his soul 
as it were into his hand, and left the issue with Gk)d. 
As he could not look to the objects of sight to rest on, 
he looked upwards to the things of faith, nay, rather he 
looked upward to God alone. God became to him his 
all, his treasure, his home, his country, his inheritance 
for ever ; this was the secret of his endurance, and God 
Himself, answering his heart's desire, said to him, " I 
am thy exceeding great reward *." He loved God, and 
therefore he loved what God loved ; he hated father, 
and mother, and child, yea, and his own life also ; not 
that he loved them the less by dwelling in the very 
Fountain of Love Itself, but that his love for himself 
and his own was but as bate compared with his love of 
God. Or rather shall we say with Scripture, his fear 
of God, his fear of losing Him, of losing His love, of 
displeasing Him, as the voice from Heaven said to 
him, "Abraham, Abraham, now I know that thou 
fearest God^" 

Now not to dwell on all the particulars of the life 

» Acts vii. 6. ♦ Heb. xi. 10. 

* Gen. xxiii. 4 ; Heb. xi. 13. ' Gen. xv. 1. 

7 Gen. xxii. 12. 

of Abraham, we know that he is pre-eminent above all 
men for faith, and faith is to the Christian all in all ; 
faith marked and crowned the life of Abraham as its 
great characteristic; this faith is always referred to 
when Abraham is spoken of, whereby he is made " the 
father of the faithful," the chosen father of Christ in 
the flesh, the type of the accepted ones, the first in the 
kingdom of Heaven. This faith is described in the 
Epistle to the Hebrews as seen in all the great acts of 
his life, all leading on to the great consummation in 
the offering up of his son. But now we may observe 
how this faith in God, like that charity which St. Paul 
describes, was "fruitful in every good word and work," 
was seen in every virtue and grace that can adorn the 
Christian character. 

First of all, with regard to his devotion, we must 
have noticed how it occurs, incidentally as it were, in 
his history, that his removal from one place to another 
is scarcely ever mentioned without this circumstance, 
so frequent as to be quite peculiar to him, so emphatic 
and brief the mention as to indicate some acceptable 
apd distinguishing act of faith. Thus, " And Abram 
passed unto the place of Sichem, . . . and there builded 
he an altar unto the Lord, Who appeared unto him." 
And the next verse, " And he removed thence unto a 
mountain on the east of Bethel, . . . and there he 
builded an altar, and called upon the name of the 
Lord'." And again the next chapter, "And he went 
on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, . . . 
unto the place of the altar which he had made there 
at the first, and there Abram called on the name of 
the Lord." And a little afterwards, " Then Abram 

• Gen. xii. 6—8. 


removed bis tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of 
Mamre, . . . and built tbere an altar unto tbe Lord*." 
This is in tbe earlier mention of him. 

In tbe next place he was tried by prosperity and 
not found wanting. His heart was with God. He 
was "very richV' and amidst his riches, says St. 
Augustine, was poor in spirit. In possessing he was 
as though he " possessed not.'* So much so that in 
our Lord's parable it was into Abraham's bosom that 
poor Lazarus was received; it was Abraham who 
pleaded for him with the rich Jew, saying, " Thou in 
thy lifetime received thy good things, and Lazarus 
evil." Of this his freedom from covetousness several 
instances may be mentioned. Thus, when on account 
of their increasing substance it was necessary for him- 
self and his brother's son to separate, ''Abram said 
unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between 
me and thee, for we are brethren :" and then when 
he might fairly have claimed to himself the choice of 
the better land, he offers all this to his nephew, and 
Lot chose for himself the rich plain of Jordan, flourish- 
ing "as the garden of the Lord." The same liberality 
and greatness of soul is seen again when the king 
of Sodom, on his rescuing his people from captivity, 
says to him, " Give me the persons, take the goods 
to thyself," but Abraham's answer is, "I will not 
take from thee a thread even to a shoelatchet." On 
the same occasion the like integrity towards God 
appears when to Melchizedeck, the Priest of the 
Most High God who met him at the same time and 
blessed him, he gave tithes of all. A similar disin- 
terestedness is afterwards shown in his dealings with 

> Gen. xiii. 3, 4. 18. > Gen. xiii. 2. 


the Hittites for the cave of Maehpelah. To which 
we may add, that his example for hospitality is referred 
to by the Apostle : " Be not forgetful to entertain 
strangers, whereby some have entertained angels un- 

And no less remarkable was his courage as seen 
in that signal instance when he arose and rescued Lot 
from Chedorlaomer and the kings; when he fought 
not for himself, but for another; not for possession 
or glory, but from brotherly affection. There is also 
throughout his whole life a singular meekness, as may 
be observed in all his conduct, to Lot, to Sarah his 
wife, to all others; to Melchizedeck, to Abimelech, 
to Ephron the Hittite ; he bowed down himself before 
them and said, " I am a stranger and sojourner with 
you ^." There is a remarkable patience and humility 
in all his words and deportment. And again, what 
compassionate love is seen as filling all his character 
in all that long intercession for the sparing of Sodom ! 
To these things must be added one point which God 
Himself is pleased to single out in Abraham as the 
great cause of His favour, and that is the religious 
care of his household : " I know him, that he will com- 
mand his children and his household after him, and 
they shall keep the way of the Lord*.'* And we may 
observe a remarkable instance of this in " the eldest 
servant of his house,'* whom he sends for his son's 
wife; a great piety and devotion marks his whole 
conduct so as to be very like Abraham himself*. 

* Gen. xxiii. 4. 7. * Gen. xviii. 19. 

* Ancient writers on Abraham's going down to Egypt with 
his wife, and their saying indeed the truth, though not all the 
truth, speak of that occasion as a beautiful instance of his faith 
in God^ and that God by His protection of him and the pleading 


But it is indeed when he turns to God more 
especially that all the wonderful depth and sweetness 
of Abraham's character is seen; it comes forth as it 
were upon his countenance, and lights it up as when 
friend meets a friend; as on that occasion of inter- 
ceding for Sodom, what love, what reverential awe and 
humility ! " And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt 
Thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?" 
And then, " Abraham answered and said, Behold now, 
I have taken upon myself to speak unto the Lord, 
which am but dust and ashes.** And again, " And he 
said unto Him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I 
will speak." And then even once more with the 
same affecting words. How is all this which so 
marks the character of Abraham contained in the 
proverbial expression that " he was called the Eriend 
of God * ! " How does this beautiful confiding trust 
break forth in that gentle inquiry when all earthly 
promises seemed against him : " Lord God, what wilt 
Thou give me!'* There is the same lowliness of 
mind and love, when on a later occasion he fell on his 
face and laughed in surprise and wonder. Hence 
there appears through his words and actions such a 
remarkable indifference, as if his heart were elsewhere. 
But he had we know a hidden joy, of which our Lord 
has Himself testified, " Your father Abraham rejoiced 
to see My day, and he saw it afar off and was ^lad" 
Hence I say this great unconcern in matters of self, 
and his great earnestness in things of God. Zeal 

of his cause showed that his trust in Him was not disappointed. 
St. Aug. iii. 613 ; vii. 689 ; viii.596. St. Amh. De Ahr. lib. i. c. 11. 
8. 9. ** Pulcherrimus est hie locos ad incitandum studium devu- 
tionis," &c. 

^ James ii. 23 ; Isa. xli. 8 ; 2 Chron. xx. 7* 


and alacrity mark where the heart is. On three occa- 
sions this may be noted in Abraham, in his haste to 
receiye his three guests with welcome ; in his hasten- 
ing to rescue Lot ; and when he " arose up early in 
the morning" to sacrifice his son in obedience to 

Thus did Abraham advance onward, and gained 
strength as he advanced : as he waited on God, and 
waited for God, so did God watch over him: as at 
every stage he built an altar and called on God, so 
also again and again did God appear unto him, bring- 
ing sunshine on his path on every occasion of difficulty 
or trial; first at Ur of the Chaldees'; then with 
great promise of blessing at Haran; then when he 
came into the land of Canaan and found the Canaanite 
there, did God appear unto Abraham with the pro- 
mise of that land to his seed. And when Lot parted 
from him and he was left alone, then still more em- 
phatically with the assurance, " Lift up thine eyes and 
look Northward, and Southward, and Eastward, and 
Westward," " all thou seest " on every side is thine 
for ever. And then after his victory, living as he 
must have done amidst angry kings and foes, God 
again appears to him, saying, '* Pear not, Abram, I am 
thy shield ^" Yet his faith is marked with an ab- 
sence of definite knowledge throughout, but a full 
reliance on God ; when he left his country, he knew 
not whither he was to go ; when the promises were 
made, he knew not how they could be fulfilled. As 
his faith increased, so did the promises, but they were 
of things still farther ofi*, and on God he reposed: 

• Acts vii. 2. 7 Gen. xii. 6, 7; xiii. 14; xv. 1. 

46 ABBA^AM. 

first, his seed was to fill the land of Canaan; then 
came the promise that the nations of the earth are in 
him to be blessed ; his seed after the flesh are to be 
as the sand on the shore ; and to fill the earth ; and 
then again they are to be as the stars and to people 
Heaven also. But when he wished for a sign and' for 
clearer knowledge, "a horror of great darkness fell 
upon him,'* as setting forth the great tribulation, and 
a light that divided; it was, says St. Augustine, 
the sign and the sight of Antichrist ; it was a sad 
vision ; enough to raise his mind to Heaven, that he 
might not seek rest on earth, and might see that in 
mercy God veils the future from our eyes '. 

Thus then is given us the wonderful pattern of a 
soul that would live to God, in Gh)d, and for Q-od — 
the life of faith. God calling and commanding, and 
giving him power to perform what He commanded, 
and blessing and crowning His own work in him. 
Qt)d proceeding with promise, and Abraham with 
faith: till Abraham was no more himself, no more 
his own; but faith in God filled all his soul, all 
that he did, all that is recorded of him. 

It was this faith that lighted up his character 
with every virtue and grace; it was like one light 
brightening up jewels of many colours; faith was 
in his generosity; faibh in his courage; faith in 
his humility ; faith in his devotion ; faith in the care 
of his household ; it was all one and the same faith 
burning more and more intensely, till it had purged 
the dross and alloy of human affection; and God 
had become to him his only rest. God looked upon 

• Gen. XV. See St. Aug. Civ. Dei, vol. vii. p. 696. 


him, and a ray from the light of His countenance 
warmed and lit up his heart ; and that illumination 
was faith. His "eye was single," and therefore 
his " whole body was fiill of light,'* his whole cha- 
racter full of God. 



Genesis xiii. 1]. 

^* Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan ; and Lot journeyed 
East : and they separated Uiemselyes the one from the other/' 

OuE Lord has said, " Eemember Lot's wife ; " if He 
had not, men might have thought there is nothing we 
know of Lot's wife which has any thing to do with 
Christianity, nor indeed with religion at all ; what we 
are told of her is a mere matter of fact like any other 
incident in history, that on looking back in escaping 
from Sodom, " she became a pillar of salt." But now 
our Lord has marked it as an especial warning to us 
in these last days, as speaking of the dangers of a 
half-repentance, of one that has been once saved by 
God's mercy, and assisted by His grace, casting back 
the eyes to that state from which he has been once 
delivered. It is an incident which says of itself, in 
other words, that " no man having put his hand to 
the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of 
God *." If then it be the case with that one circum- 

^ Luke ix. 62. 

LOT. 49 

stance, we may be sure that the whole of that awful 
history is full of instruction for us, and contains 
admonitions from God. Nay further, our Lord has 
Himself given us to understand that the destruction 
of Sodom is a figure of the last Judgment, which will 
come at a time when lawlessness shall abound, and 
faith be scarce found. Lot therefore is, as St. Augus- 
tine says, a sign of the Body of Christ at that time *, 
of the Christians who shall be grieved at the wicked- 
ness of the world around, and by God's mercy es- 
cape the great condemnation. Full of interest then 
to us is the character of Lot, who is saved; and 
it is one that affords much matter for reflection 
from its imperfectness, and God's mercy notwith- 

St. Peter speaks of Lot as a righteous man. '* And 
delivered just Lot," he says, " vexed with the filthy 
conversation of the wicked : for that righteous man 
dwelling among them . . . vexed his righteous soul'." 
Here he is spoken of as a righteous man in comparison 
with that wicked people among whom he dwelt*, 
and as knowing the true God. St. Paul also perhaps 
alludes to his hospitality *, as well as that of Abraham ; 
and it is something to have been the friend of Abraham, 
who was "the friend of God." But on the other 
hand, St. Paul makes no mention of Lot in the 
catalogue of those whom he records as by faith 
inheriting the promises. And in this history nothing 
is said of Lot being in himself accepted except for 
Abraham's sake; "God remembered Abraham," it 
is said, " and sent Lot out of the midst of the over- 

2 St Aug. viil 698. » 2 Pet. iL 7, 8. 

« St. Aug. ill 619. ^ Heb. xiii. 2. 


50 LOT. 

throw, when He overthrew the cities in the which 
Lot dwelt ®." " Scripture reminds us," says St. Augus- 
tine, "that it was for the merits of Abraham that 
Lot was delivered '." The history of his deliverance 
shows God's extreme care for Lot ; the Angel waits 
long and presses him, and great as is the guilt, loud 
the cry of Sodom, he says, he can do nothing, till 
Lot is in a place of safety: but it is mentioned 
as of God's especial mercy to him. No approbation 
is expressed of him. It is for Abraham's sake who 
was probably at the time interceding for him with 

It would appear as if Scripture had purposely 
interwoven the histories of Abraham and Lot, in order 
to show us by placing them together the difference 
between a perfect and imperfect faith. The beginning 
of Lot's history is one with that of Abraham ; they 
both leave their country and home, both go to a 
fltrange land. We read, "Abraham went and Lot 
with him;" this is repeated; under the shadow of 
Abraham we behold him, one with Abraham, learning 
of him self-sacrifice, hospitality, trust in God. But 
as the companion and nephew of Abraham, as living 
under his guidance and protection, there is as yet in 
Lot no proof of an independent faith. Many are 
brought up under the shelter of a parent's roof in 
godly habits, while all the while their own faith is not 
as yet put to the proof. It may be as good as his 
under whose shade they dwell, time and temptation 
will show; they may be merely as shoots from a 
parent stem, having no root in themselves but from 
connexion with the deeper and stronger stock, and 

• Gen. xix. 29. ' Quaes, in Gen. xlv. vol. iii. 619. 

LOT. 61 

when seyered from it, then will come the trial of 
inherent life. 

The first indication of this difference between the 
two is seen when, on account of their increasing herds, 
they are obliged to part asunder ; then there appears 
in Lot a worldly eye, a sense of his own advantage. 
" And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain 
of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, 
before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrha.'* 
" Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan," " and 
pitched his camp toward Sodom. But the men of 
Sodom,*' it is added, " were wicked and sinners before 
the Lord exceedingly.*' Thus they are now parted 
asunder in the earthly Canaan, but still more in their 
road toward the heavenly. Lot is governed by sight, 
Abraham by faith. There is nothing perhaps more 
frequently decides the eternal condition of the soul 
than the use of worldly goods. All the dealings of 
God with Abraham had been to separate him from 
the wicked nations ; but Lot chooses to live among 
the worst of them, and contracts marriages with them, 
because their land was " as the garden of the Lord." 
He thinks more oR the rich land than of the wicked 
people. He lifted up his eyes, and he saw the rich 
beauty of the land, and pitched his tent toward Sodom; 
now the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked. The 
passage is remarkable, as implying so much, and saying 
so little. 

Erom this point came the change and the trial. 
While Abraham continued with his eyes turned more 
and more to God ; more free from worldly cares and 
temptations ; more at rest and peace with God ; with 
light burning more and more bright to the perfect 
day; God's presence a "shield" against every 
B 2 

52 LOT. 

temptation; His love a "reward exceeding great," 
beyond all things on earth ; while he is seen with all 
his family and household walking with God, with step 
more and more firm as he advances onward, and is lost 
from our view in the light of God*s countenance and 
the heavenly Jerusalem ; in the mean while the best 
thing which an Apostle can say of Lot is of his being 
vexed from day to day on account of those scenes into 
the midst of which he had placed himself by a too keen 
estimate of worldly good. And what was his family ? 
and what his care of them ? His sons-in-law were of 
Sodom ; his wife a memorial to all ages of a doubting 
faith; from his daughters were sprung the great 
enemies of God's people. Abraham waited in faith 
and looked to God, and God gave in His own good 
time ; Lot waited not, but chose for himself, and lost 
what he thus obtained. Lot was next seen with the 
king of Sodom, joined with him in the evils that came 
upon him ; Abraham with the king of Salem, which is 
Peace, and receiving the blessing of Melchizedeck, the 
Priest of the Most High God. 

On every change of life, on every proof of duty and 
self-sacrifice, God appears to Abraham with some 
manifestation of favour, and he goes on his way 
rejoicing. But far otherwise with Lot ; God has been 
pleased to mark his course with disappointment in 
those very things which he for himself had chosen. 
This indeed is always a sign of Qt)d's mercy ; it is in 
tribulation that God speaks, and in tribulation man 
listens to His voice. But were it not for Abraham he 
would have lost all, and ended his days as a captive, 
for it so pleased the Almighty that all his deliverances 
should be through the means of Abraham, who trusted 
in God. "We just now read that " Lot lifted up his 

LOT. 63 

ejes, and saw as it were the garden of the Lord, and 
chose him all the plain," " and dwelled in the cities of 
the plain toward Sodom ;" but the next thing we hear 
of him is that Chedorlaomer, the king of Elam, had 
overcome and slain the kings of Sodom and Gomorrha ; 
" and thej took Lot," it is added, " Abram's brother's 
son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed." 
Thus was he admonished and warned of G-od. But G-od 
has for him, and in him for us all, a yet more awful 
warning, to stand as a record to all ages, for a sign of 
what is yet to be. 

It had been said at first that Lot " pitched his tent 
toward Sodom ; " but it would appear as if he afterwards 
ceased to dwell in tents, as Abraham and his children 
did, indicating thereby, says St. Paul, that they 
were strangers and pilgiims upon earth, looking for a 
more abiding city. But many must have this lesson 
written on them as it were by fire. Lot lifted up his 
eyes and saw the well-watered plain — as it were the 
garden of the Lord — and beautiful must it have been 
indeed to look on. What fulness of beauty and abund- 
ance with its pure waters, and skies, and morning and 
evening suns ! But wait awhile, and look again ; Lot 
cannot look to it, he may not look to it, he cannot 
escape sufficiently far from it ; we may look to it in 
the gracious light of Christ's goodness, and behold in 
it the Judgment day, and the soul salted with fire. 
What a change on that scene ! the smoke rising up as 
from a furnace, the brimstone, the ashes, and the salt, 
which is no salt, but bitterness ; the dead sea, and the 
dead land are there ; nay, the land of the dead unto 
this day. 

But while these marks of God have taken place on 
the objects of Lot's choice, let us consider what is 

64 I.OT. 

more important, what changes are going on within 
the soul; what indications there are of the inner 
life. I observed that Lot's character was of interest 
to us from its yery imperfection ; and for this reason, 
that when we read of the highly-approved Saints of 
God, much of the interest is lost from our considering 
them so much beyond us; and when we come to 
those whom Scripture strongly condemns, as Pharaoh, 
and Saul, and Ahab, we think we are not such as 
they, so that their example does not so much rivet 
our attention; but that of Lot is very near us as 
resembling that of so many among Christians ; such 
as we should many of us be content to be, for we 
think that he has with him signs of salvation and of 
God's mercy. 

Now in considering Lot our thoughts are mostly 
turned to those events to which our Lord has so 
signally invited our attention, the overthrow of Sodom. 
Tet surely the account of Lot himself is rendered on 
that occasion full of fear by his very imperfection 
and the consequent difficulty of his deliverance. Sea- 
sons of prosperity and temptation, with intervals 
perhaps more or less of ease, together with worldly 
carefulness and pleasures, may be passing over us 
through life and producing changes on our minds 
which we do not notice at the time ; but they await 
the occasion of some great trial, which will probably 
overtake us before we die or at the time of death 
itself, perhaps in sickness or some great bereavement 
or tribulation, and then these changes which have 
been long silently going on will appear. Then it is 
that their effects on the soul will tell ; and the way 
in which all the sins and infirmities of a whole life 
may then be shown will be in the want of faith ; 

LOT. 55 

that is all in short which unites tho soul to God 
being impaired and weakened; the very heart as it 
were of the heart itself, our religious being, the only 
strength of our spiritual life, being eaten out and 
corrupted. This trial came on Lot unexpected and 
irretrievable ; sudden, short, speedy ; it was come and 
gone ere he had time to reflect ; and in this respect 
it has been left by our Lord as the sign and resem- 
blance of that great season of change which we have 
all to undergo. Such indeed have been usually the 
great trials of faith, as in Esau's lost inheritance, in 
the trial of Moses, in Saul's disobedience, in David's 
sin, in Lot's wife, in St. Peter walking on the waters 
and his denials in the hall of Caiaphas, and again in 
the Eich Young Man, and in Judas Iscariot, they 
overtook when unexpected, weighed the soul in the 
balance, and were gone. And indeed the imperfec- 
tions of Lot on that terrible night have been con- 
sidered by St. Augustine to have been owing to 
great perturbation of mind arising from the sudden- 
ness of the trials that then crowded together upon 
him, from the wickedness of man and the judgments of 
God. The state of his mind appears to have been 
twofold, as formed by opposite influences ; there was 
in him Abraham's faith which had become like part of 
his better self, as seen in his knowledge of God, his 
kindness and reverence for his Angel-guests, his 
strong and hospitable welcome to them ; but vrith this 
there appears also the effect on his soul of long resi- 
dence amongst the ungodly ; so that compared with 
them of Sodom he was a righteous man, the "just 
Lot ;" but compared with Abraham he was not what 
he might have been. He was grieved at the wicked- 
ness of the city, for they were passed warning and 

56 LOT. 

beyond hope, given over of God to a reprobate mind ; 
but he went out to his own sons-in-law at the Angels' 
bidding with the offer of preservation and life ; as if 
in them there was yet hope, and the voice of God 
speaking to them and within them: but even here 
too his influence with them was none at all. " He 
seemed," it is said, " as one that mocked to his sons- 
in-law." He grieved over some ; and warned others ; 
and so far he was a witness of God. But it next 
appears that there was a lingering reluctance in his 
own heart ; for it is added, " Then the Angels hastened 
Lot, saying, Arise, . . . lest thou be consumed in the 
iniquity of the city." But notwithstanding he " yet 
lingered," and God of His great mercy met him, as it 
were, and aided him in that his weakness. 

" And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his 
hand, . . . the Lord being merciful unto him; and they 
brought him forth, and set him without the city." 
But though without the city, he is not yet safe, nor 
will be, unless God is yet further gracious to him, for 
there is still the like weakness, a feebleness of heart 
that makes his knees totter and his strength fail. 
" And it came to pass, when they had brought them 
forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life ; look 
not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain ; 
escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. And 
Lot said unto them. Oh, not so, my Lord : behold 
now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and 
thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast 
showed thy servant in saving my life ; and I cannot 
escape to the mountain." 

Now true faith is marked by a strong sense, not of 
the goodness only, but still more of the power of God. 
What is the meaning of a weak faith, a weak Chris- 

XOT. 67 

tian ? It is one that is weak in Ood. It was a belief 
in His power that our Lord most of all required, and 
most approved of in the Gospels. " I can do all things," 
says St. Paul, "through Christ strengthening me." 
Lot looks to the mercy, not to the power. And how 
different is his conduct from that of Abraham ! Abra- 
ham when bidden, arose early and went to the moun- 
tain to slay his son, strengthening himself in beholding 
Him that is Invisible. Lot is bidden to flee to the 
mountain, that he may save his life ; but he lingers 
and has not power to do so, not faith that He who 
commands would give power to perform. It is said to 
him, " Escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed," 
but he says in answer, that he cannot escape to the 
mountain, lest he die. Nor is this all, for he then soon 
after " feared to dwell even in the little city which 
God had spared for him, and promised him security 
therein®;" showing thereby, as St. Augustine ob- 
serves, what little strength his faith had, so that even 
from thence he went up to the mountain and the cave. 

Thus then did Lot "escape for his life," with his 
life only — his " life given him for a prey," all else lost — 
saved as by fire — as a brand plucked from the burning 
— scarce saved, as the Apostle says, apparently with 
an allusion to him, "if the righteous scarcely be 

Many indeed would be well content to be as Lot, 
and if but saved at last, think that all will be well. 
But consider, to be but scarcely saved, is to be well-nigh 
lost, and what if not saved, but lost ! Lot had Abra- 
ham to look to, and fell short ; but he that looks to 

' St. Aug. QusDS. in Gen. xlvii. 

68 LOT. 

Lot, and fallB short even of that, as he surely will do, 
can have not even a Zoar allowed him to escape to. 
Lot lingers and hesitates, and with difficulty advances. 
The next thing to this is to look back, and then, 
" Eemember Lot's wife.*' No doubt the example of 
Lot is given us by the side of Abraham for our warning 
and avoidance ; the uncertainty, the temptation, the 
dangers, the suspense, the terrors of that night may 
well indicate the state of a soul such as that of Lot 
in the great crisis we may all have to undergo. 

These are both instances of faith — Abraham and 
Lot. But look at this and look at that ; see the 
peace of the one— the disquietude of the other ; godli- 
ness hath the promise of the life which now is, and of 
that which is to come ; to him that seeketh first the 
kingdom of God all things needful for this life shall 
be added; nay, more, to self-sacrifice is promised 
manifold more in this present time, as well as ever- 
lasting life hereafter ; it hath "peace and joy in the 
Holy Ghost ;" but this is all to one thoroughly reli- 
gious, to the life of faith ; to the half-religious it is not 
BO, but doubt often, and care, and inquietude. Joys of 
sense are not compatible with joys of the spirit ; glad- 
ness is spoken of with singleness of heart ; but these 
are not found with "fulness of bread," which gave 
rise to the sin of Sodom. 

Now where shall all who are met here on this day 
find themselves described in the awful picture of this 
history ? Tou are not as they of Sodom ; nor are you 
probably as Lot's sons-in-law, who mocked at his 
entreaties; neither are you such as Abraham; then 
you must be either as Lot or as Lot's wife ; in a state 
of uncertainty for good or evil, and one in which faith 

lOT. 69 

may be strengthened or weakened ; and if in either of 
these states now and at the last, then your end will be 
one of these two ; in one case, that you are very nearly 
lost, but not quite— in the other, that you are very 
nearly saved, hut not quite ! 



Malachi i. 2, 3. 

'< Was not Esau Jacob's brother ! saith the Lord : yet 1 loved 

«* And I hated Esau." 

It is said that " the Heavens are not clean in God's 
sight;" and that "His Angels He chargeth with 
folly," much more "them that dwell in houses of 
clay*." Among the Saints in the mirror of Grod's 
Word there is not one that appears as it were " with- 
out spot or wrinkle." In some cases Scripture itself 
bears witness to this, as in the sin of Moses, of David, 
of Hezekiah, the denial of St. Peter, and the error of 
St. John in wishing to bring down fire from Heaven, 
and with his mother in asking for the chief place. 
But where the Word of God has expressed no censure 
it is better not to judge ; as in the apparent act of 
intemperance in Noah, the conduct of Abraham to- 
wards Pharaoh, and that of Jacob in obtaining his 

» Job XV. 15; iv. 18, 19. 


father's blessing. A good Bishop of our own has 
strongly condemned this last, and noticed the retri- 
bution that followed on Jacob and his mother : that 
he became an exile in consequence, and she never saw 
him again; that he was himself soon after deceived 
in a very remarkable manner by Laban ; that he was 
imposed upon by his own sons in his old age, and that 
as he had deceived his aged father with a kid, so his 
son Joseph's coat was brought to him dyed with the 
blood of a kid*. 

Such are the reflections of one much revered among 
us; but the ancient Fathers are very unwilling to 
attribute sin to Jacob in this matter, knowing how 
high he stands in the favour of Grod. "We know not 
how much may be left unexplained to us in that 
transaction ; for it is evidently the setting forth of a 
great mystery, the sacrament of our redemption ; we 
know not what interposition of God may have taken 
place with respect to Eebekah, or how far she and 
her son may have been acting under the influence and 
hand of God. She had been told of God beforehand 
that "the elder should serve the younger':" she 
knew that Jacob valued in faith the covenant that 
God had made with Abraham respecting Christ, and 
that Esau despised it, and had sold his birthright: 
she takes it all upon herself, saying, " Upon me be thy 
curse, my son :" as knowing that it was no curse but 
a blessing. Neither does Isaac express any blame on 
Eebekah or on Jacob ; but on the contrary immedi- 
ately confirms and repeats the blessing. It is said 
that on finding what he had done he " trembled very 
exceedingly," this is explained by the Church of old 

» Bp. Wilson. » Gen. xxv. 23. 


as signifying that by a sudden inspiration from 
above he perceived the Divine interposition and the 
hand of God ; and then he does willingly what he had 
before done in ignorance. And not only does he 
then at the time acquiesce in and establish the bless- 
ing he had given, but afterwards he carries out the 
same, when he sends him to the East; when the 
account is, "And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed 
him," " and said, Gk)d Almighty bless thee, . . . and 
give thee the blessing of Abraham." 

It is indeed in these two brothers God now shows 
that the covenant of grace and salvation which He 
had made with Abraham is only to stand by faith ; 
and this transaction is the representation of that 
great mystery. Hence in Jacob we have the Gentile, 
the younger son, coming and obtaining the blessing of 
the elder ; the Old Testament, the Law and the Pro- 
phets represented by Isaac, appeared as if they would 
confer the blessing on the Jew, for they seemed to 
address the Jews, to give them the promises. But 
their father's " eyes were dim " by reason of age, " so 
that he could not see," i.e. the Law and the Pro- 
phets were not understood, they were veiled by a 
cloud. But Eebekah, she that had been called and 
come from afar, i.e. the Church of God from the 
beginning, substitutes the younger son, in the rai- 
ment of the elder ; he stands in the place of the 
elder, having received the birthright ; but covered with 
the skins of the slain kid, i. e. having put on Christ, 
the savour of life, " as the smell of the field which 
thjB Lord hath blessed," fruitful in all good works. 
9|i the voice is still the voice of Jacob, it is 
thw of the Gentile who by subtlety as it were 
presses into the kingdom, it is still our nature, 


which inherits not by right, but through the merits of 
our elder brother, the First-born, which is Christ. 
Then he draws near and receives from his father the 
sacramental kiss of peace, which Esau did not ^. But 
as the Jew persecuted the Grentile unto the death, so 
Esau, it is said, would have slain Jacob ; but Jacob 
fled, having " suffered the loss of all things," but having 
his father's blessing; like the early Christians, "as 
deceivers and yet true," " having nothing and yet 
possessing all things," " persecuted but not for- 

It is true that all this does not of itself justify 
Jacob in that transaction because it was thus over- 
ruled of God ; but this, and some other things of the 
same kind in the character of this patriarch, we may 
be content to leave with God, not venturing to judge 
where God has not judged for us. And in the mean 
while may be mentioned some reflections which should 
dispose us to think favourably of Jacob, as far as we 
are allowed to do so. Isaac says by inspiration, 
" Blessed be he that blesseth thee," we would share 
in this blessing. We woidd wish to love what God 
loves and to hate what God hates ; and surely this is 
a strong expression in the text, which is repeated by 
St. Paul, " Jacob have I loved." And to come to parti- 
culars, he seems to have the praise of God in this 
very point in which we are inclined to condemn him, 
for what men attribute to Jacob is deceitfulness ; but 
before mentioning that mysterious transaction Scrip- 
ture states, as it were intentionally, says St. Augus- 
tine *, that " Jacob was a plain man," i. e. one void 
of guile and deceit, in contrast to the craft of the 

* St. Chrysostora. * Sermon iv. 16, 16. 


" cunning hunter." Which character of Jacob is, as 
the same writer observes, confirmed by our Lord 
Himself, for when He sajs of Nathanael, " Behold an 
Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile ! " He evi- 
dently implies that Israel of old was thus free from 
guile ; even as those who had great faith He spake of 
as being, true children of Abraham. And indeed in 
this very account itself there seems a shrinking from 
guile and simplicity of heart in Jacob's words, when 
he draws back, saying to his mother, '* I shall seem to 
him as a deceiver, and bring on myself a curse, and 
not a blessing." 

But to take a yet larger view of the subject, Jacob 
is not only one in that "cloud of witnesses," by 
which, as St. Paul says, we are "compassed about," 
as examples in that race which is set before us, but he 
is one of those three chosen ones selected of Q-od for 
an especial mention of the highest kind as associated 
with Himself. For we must remember that God is 
known for ever as the God of Abraham, and the 
God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He is not 
ashamed to be called their God. And our Lord 
Himself explains this to mean that they still live 
with Him, for He is the God of the living, not the 
God of the dead. They are with Him. And they 
who by faith enter into Christ's kingdom are said 
by Him to sit down in the kingdom of Heaven with 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Nay, more than this, 
He is pleased to be spoken of as "the God of 
Jacob." Such a one then must not be lightly judged 
or with disparagement. Add to which the very 
singular care which Gtod seems to have of him, 
His communing with him so ofben, so often appear- 
ing unto him, to support, direct, and increase him- 


He hardly moves from place to place, without a 
Divine interference ; when he went to the East, when 
he was to return from thence, when he removed into 
Egypt, it was under the especial guidance of God. 
All these things render his life one of peculiar interest ; 
and are seen in strong contrast with the history of 
Esau; for Jacoh evidently throughout valued 'and loved 
the promises of God, which Esau despised. 

It is true that Jacoh's faith is not to be considered 
such as that of Abraham ; for Jacob says, " If God 
will be with me, and will keep me, . . . then shall the 
Lord be my God*." It was indeed conditional; 
whereas in Abraham there was nothing of this, 
for he served God with a full and free heart, never 
saying, " K God will keep me.*' Yet even this 
in Jacob was faith acceptable with God ; he thus 
spake when he left his country with a staff in his 
hand and with a stone for his pillow, and thus he put 
his faith to the proof. He was not disappointed, and 
he never forgot that promise. Indeed gratitude and 
thankfulness seem to mark the whole of his after-life ; 
he continually alludes to it, even to the last ; as when 
in blessing the sons of Joseph, he says, " The God 
which fed me all my life long unto this day, the Angel 
which redeemed me from all evil." And he attributes 
all to the same source ; " I had not thought," he says 
to Joseph, " to see thy face : and, lo, God hath showed 
me also thy seed ^" And he alludes especially to that 
God's first protection of him, as when before meeting 
with Esau, he says, "O God of my father, ... the Lord 
which said unto me, Eetum unto thy country, and to 
thy kindred, ... I am not worthy of the least of all 

• Gen. xxTiii. 20, 21. ^ Gen. xlviii. 15, 16. 11. 



the mercies, and of all the truth, which Thou hast 
showed unto Thy servant ; for with my staff I passed 
over this Jordan ; and now I am become two bands •." 

It has been said that they who note providences 
shall never want a providence to note. So it was with 
Jacob; his life was compassed about with special 
providences because he had eyes to observe them. 

In furtherance of this we may notice, that what 
Jacob is more especially known for is his beholding 
visions of God — the very name given him, that of 
Israel, has been supposed by some to indicate this '. 
And all his history is a beautiful account of it ; the 
^dsions of Jacob fill the whole, visions of what was 
spiritual and Divine in the highest degree, as to a pil- 
grim and sojourner unto that heavenly Jerusalem, the 
name of which is supposed to signify " the vision of 
peace." He had faith, and to faith was it given to 
behold the things of the kingdom of Grod. It was no 
light privilege to be visited of Grod, and to behold His 
angels, and to be met by them in going out and coming 
in on the great stages of life. On his leaving the holy 
land he has a vision of angels ; and with a correspond- 
ing glad welcome did the angels greet him on returning, 
at the very threshold of the same. " And the angels 
of God met hin\^ And when Jacob saw them, he said, 
This is God's host'." It is indeed as if G^d had 
" given His angels charge over him, to keep him in all 
his ways," and had bidden them as it were to " encamp 
round about " him. "What could be more expressive of 
Christ's kingdom than the ladder of Jacob P our Lord 
Himself has mentioned it as signifying the highest 

• Gen. xxxii. 9, 10. ** St. Aug. in Ps. Ixxv. 3,etpa9sifh, 

Gen. xxxii. ] 2. 


gifts of His Presence in His Church on earth, for after 
speaking of Nathanael as an Israelite indeed, He says 
to him in allusion to this, "Hereafter ye shall see 
Heaven open, and the angels ascending and descending 
on the Son of Man." And this his first vision was 
accepted by Jacob in all its fulness, and understood by 
him ; for he said on awakening, ** Surely the Lord is in 
this place, and I knew it not. And he was afraid and 
said, How dreadful is this place ! this is none other 
but the house of Grod, and this is the gate of Heaven." 
How full of significancy beyond all thought is this 
expression as spoken of the Holy Land ! How true 
of Israel after the flesh afterwards at Christ's coming, 
that Grod was there, though he knew it not, and the 
very gate of Heaven ! It is indeed like a represen- 
tation of what St. Paul says of the Christian, the true 
Israel, " That he has come to the Mount Sion, and to 
an innumerable company of angels." 

And again how full of spiritual wisdom is that 
account of Jacob on his return wrestling with the 
angel, or with One greater than an angel, whose Name 
was Secret, until the breaking of the day ; when in 
mystery he saw the face of God, and prevailed ; and 
in token of that his prevailing with God had his name 
changed to Israel. How does it set forth the wrestling 
and struggling of a soul with God in prayer, which 
beholds His face, and will not let Him go without a 
blessing ; while " the kingdom of Heaven suffereth 
violence," and " the violent take it by force." When 
in the power of that blessing he prevails, not with God 
only, but also with man, for on the morrow he converts 
and changes the heart of Esau by humility and 
kindness, overcoming evil with good *. 

» St. Aug. vol. V. p. 60, ch. i. Ser. v. 

r 2 


But Jacob's character is not to be considered onlj 
by itself, but as it comes before us in Scripture in 
strong contrast with that of his brother Esau, who is 
declared to be "a fornicator and profane person'," and 
at enmitj with God. Now there was nothing of this 
kind which we have been speaking of in Esau; no 
wrestling with God, no visions of angels, no ipromises, 
no warnings, no communications from Heaven ; for he 
evidently had no ears to hear, nor eyes to see the 
things of God, because he had no heart to value them. 
The first mention of him is as causing grief to both his 
parents by his marrying with the daughters of Canaan; 
it was a very grievous sin, for it was quite contrary to 
all faith in God, Who had done so much in calling 
forth Abraham, and separating him from the nations. 
And when he sells his birthright there is the same 
contempt of God ; it is said, " He did eat and drink, 
and rose up, and went his way ;" the account is ex- 
pressive of the carnal man which sets at nought God 
and His promises ; '* thus Esau,*' it is added, '* despised 
his birthright." And then when he loses the blessing 
also, and lifts up " the great and exceeding bitter cry," 
it is because the blessings of earth, such as he valued, 
went with a father's blessing ; there is no repentance 
towards God. "They were but transitory things," 
says St. Gregory, " which he desired in that blessing*." 
And then, like Cain, he envies the blessing which he 
loses, and purposes in his heart to kill his brother. It 
is a strange meeting which he has prepared for an only 
brother returning from a far country after more than 
twenty years' absence, when he hastens to encounter 
him with four hundred men. It is true that he 

« Heb. xii. 16. * In Job, lib. xi. 13. 


afterwards relents, when Jacob had " bowed himself to 
the ground seven times " before him, he " ran to meet 
him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed 
him: and they wept*." This is very affecting; it 
showed that he had strong natural feelings, even to 
compunction; like as Saul had when David had 
overcome him in the same manner. But these are 
mentioned in such characters to caution us not to 
trust in the like ; for the New Testament has held out 
Esau for our warning as one under the displeasure of 
God, and a profane person. And while Grod restrained 
him from injuring Jacob, yet we may observe it is not 
even as with Laban the Syrian, by appearing to him 
on this or any other occasion, being the very opposite 
to Jacob, who had visions of God. 

It is not indeed to be maintained that Jacob was 
a perfect and blameless character, but that as a certain 
reverence is due to fathers in the flesh, so to those 
who may be considered as our fathers in the Spirit, 
whom Scripture represents as chosen and beloved of 
God, there is some degree of consideration due when 
we speak of them. If Jacob describes his life to 
Pharaoh as a sad pilgrimage, whose days were few and 
evil, this is but the lot of Christians. His life was 
that of faith upon the whole, not of sight. Amidst 
much increase of substance and outward prosperity, it 
does not appear that he was ambitious or worldly- 
minded. His prayer to God is that He would give 
him "bread to eat, and raiment to put on;'* and 
" having food and raiment," says a Christian Apostle, 
"let us be therewith content*." Amidst the abun- 
dance and riches of Egypt he forgot not the land of 

« Gen. xxxiii. 3, 4. « 1 Tim. vi. 8. 


the covenant and promise, but by Divine inspiration 
portioned it out to his children ; as looking forward to 
the time " when Shiloh should come '." " Fruitful in 
his offspring," says a holy Latin Bishop, " but more 
fruitful in riches of the Spirit, he bound that offspring 
with the chains of prophecy'." And it is this which 
the Apostle to the Hebrews has mentioned as the 
great proof of his faith. " By faith Jacob, when he 
was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph, and 

To conclude, Esau is in Scripture the type of those 
who live after the flesh, and shall die : Jacob of " the 
pure in heart," who " see God," and shall see Him 
hereafter. "When our Lord said to Nathanael that he 
should witness the realization and fulfilment of that 
vision of the patriarch in the angels ascending and 
descending on the Son of Man, it was in immediate 
connexion with the character which He had given 
him of one free from guile, and as such a true child of 
Israel. In Esau and Jacob, as both sons of Abraham, 
are set before us the carnal and spiritual, the bad and 
good Christian, where we see that in spite of good 
feelings and visitings of remorse, there is a broad line 
between them, that in the spiritual-minded there may 
be natural infirmities, yet the bent of the whole life is 
towards God, and consists of faith in God. For the 
world imagines that it sees faults in good people, and 
much that is amiable in the worldly ; and therefore it 
would confound good and bad ; and thinks that there 
is no great difference with God, nor will be in the end. 
But God and Scripture teach us very differently ; that 

' Gen. xlix. 10. • St. Greg, in Job, b. iv. 63. 

» Heb. xi. 21. 


notwithstanding appearances there will be seen a 
difference as deep and broad as the great gulf fixed 
between Heaven and hell. It is very awful to 
contemplate two brothers, of the same father and 
mother, bom at the same birth, brought up together 
under the same roof, yet divided at length by a vast 
and eternal separation. 

One word more with regard to the text ; they are 
the opening words of the last Prophet, Malachi, the 
last warning before that silence which preceded Christ's 
coming ; he thus begins, " I have loved you, saith the 
Lord. Yet ye say. Wherein hast Thou loved us ? "Was 
not Esau Jacob's brother ? saith the Lord : yet I loved 
Jacob, and I hated Esau." He thus reminds the Jews 
that they, as Jacob had been, were then the peculiar 
objects of God's love and choice. But when St. Paul 
afterwards quotes this passage, saying in his Epistle to 
the Eomans, " It is written, Jacob have I loved, but 
Esau have I hated V' the reverse had become the 
case ; Esau represented Israel after the flesh, who was 
rejected, and Jacob the Christian, who by faith had 
- become possessed of the birthright and the blessing. 
How awful is this change continually going on, whereby 
the last becomes first, and the first last. '^ Be not high- 
minded," adds the Apostle, " but fear ;" and one 
greater than the Apostle, " Hold that fast which thou 
hast, that no man take thy crown *." 

1 Rom. ix. 13. > Rev. iii. 11. 



Genesis xlix. 23, 24. 

'* The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and 

hated him : 
** But his how abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were 

made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob." 

These words contain Jacob's own account of his 
beloved son Joseph, and shortly comprise all his 
history. No doubt the reason why Holy Scripture 
has told us so much of Joseph, and rendered the 
account of him so singularly attractive is, that the 
example may sink deep into our hearts and lives, 
suited as it is for every age and condition of life. And 
the example comes down to us Christians, hallowed 
and enforced by the remarkable figure which Joseph is 
given to bear of our Lord Himself; so that it is Christ 
speaking to us through Joseph of old, and we are 
constrained to think of our Lord Himself throughout. 
The dreams of Joseph, of the sheaves bowing down to 
his, and the sun, moon, and eleven stars doing obeisance 
to him, at once raise our mind to one greater than 


Joseph, at whose Name " every knee shall bow, of things 
in Heaven, and things in earth, and things under the 
earth *.*' Joseph had to bear his cross ; he was " a 
man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;" he was 
stripped of his raiment like our Lord Himself, and 
cast into the pit as if dead ; he is known, like our Lord 
Himself as described in Isaiah, by his garments dyed 
in blood'; his brethren, "moved with envy'," de- 
livered him up to the Egyptians, as the Pharisees, 
moved with envy, gave up Christ to the Gentiles ; he 
was sold by one of them whose name was Judah or 
Judas ; and as if to confirm the figure, he is again cast 
into the dungeon, " as a dead man out of mind," as 
" free among the dead," and " out of remembrance." 
He also might say with Christ, " Let not the pit shut 
her mouth upon me ;" "I am so fast in prison that I 
cannot get forth ;" "I am become as an alien unto my 
brethren ;" " Thou hast made me to be abhoreed of 
them ;" " fafee witnesses did rise up against me, they 
laid to my charge things that I knew not." He was 
" numbered with the transgressors ;" to one of those 
fellow-sufferers he promises life, to the other not. Then 
be is raised on high among the Heathen, saving life 
and giving bread, the bread that saveth from death ; 
setting forth Him "Who giveth the true Bread from 
Heaven ; married to a daughter of Egypt, as Christ's 
Bride, the Church, is taken from among the Gentiles ; 
then receiving his brethren as one "alive from the 
dead," and with words like those of our Lord Himself 
after the resurrection, when they were " troubled at 
His presence," and " supposed that they had seen a 

» Pliil. ii. 10. » Isa. Ixiii. 1—3. 

' Acts Tii. 9. 


spirit *," but Joseph says, " Come near to me, I pray 
you. And they came near. And he said, I am 
Joseph your brother." And then who is this 
Benjamin the younger brother, but St. Paul himself, 
" of the tribe of Benjamin * ? " And oh, with what 
tenderness, what loye is he welcomed and singled out 
beyond the rest! "Behold, your eyes see, and the 
eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth 
that speaketh unto you." And in all these things it 
was with Joseph as with Christ, that his exaltation is 
brought about by those very means which they took 
to destroy him, and render the prophecies of none 

Now it is to be observed that Christ speaks to us 
not only in the G-ospels and in the New Testament, in 
what is there written of Himself, of what He says and 
does, but also throughout the Old Testament in 
manifold ways; the Prophets mention many things 
concerning Him as accurate in description as history 
itself; and the Psalms speak of Him, and express the 
thoughts of His heart as the Son of Man, as much as 
they do of David and his own history. We have had 
occasion to notice how Grod has made the characters 
of the Old Testament to represent Him ; as Abel 
speaks of His death ; Enoch of His ascension ; Noah 
speaks of Him as our place of refuge ; Melchizedeck of 
His everlasting Priesthood ; in Moses He is our Law- 
giver; in Joshua the Captain of our Salvation; in 
Samuel He is the Intercessor ; in David our Eang ; 
Samson speaks of His victory in death ; Solomon of 
His wisdom in His Church, in hymns, and parables, and 
precepts ; Daniel of His honour among the Heathen ; 

* Gen. xlv. 3. 12 ; St. Luke xxiv. 37. * Rom. xi. 1. 


Elijah of His miracles and ascension ; Elisha of His 
quickening the dead ; and both of these of His mission 
to the Gentiles '; and Joseph, as we have just observed, 
of His humiliation, and subsequent exaltation to the 
light hand of God. These are figures and prophetic 
types of the events of our Lord's Incarnation ; but this 
is not all ; the Saints of old exhibit severally some point 
in our Lord's character, as the Son of Man, for ^^ of 
His fulness have all we received, and grace for 
grace ;" some grace corresponding to His as moulded 
by the same Spirit, representing as it were, however 
faulty, some feature of His countenance, some gesture 
however imperfectly of His body, some ray from the 
indwelling of the same Spirit. Por they received in 
measure, He without measure. Thus then again, 
Abel speaks of His innocence ; Enoch of His walk with 
God ; Noah of His " endurance in hope ^ ;" Job of His 
patience ; Abraham of His obedience ; Moses of His 
meekness; David of His communion with God; 
Daniel of His humiliation for our sins ; Hezekiah of 
His " strong crying and tears to Him that was able to 
save Him from death ;" Jeremiah of His weeping over 
His people ; Isaiah of His beholding the glory that 
should be revealed; Elijah of His constant calls to 
repentance. Thus they in part and measure bring 
forth to us the fulness and perfection of Christ, one 
in this way and another in that. Eor "every one that 
is perfect shall be as his master','' in some respect 
resembling Him. And therefore we may ask in what 
particular point of view Christ speaks to us, not only 
in the history, but also in the character of Joseph ? 

• St. Luke iv. 26. 27. ' St Greg, in Job. 

* Luke vl 40. 


For the narrative of Joseph's life is indeed of itself 
most engaging and full of interest ; it would be so 
whether we were Christians or not ; but it comes 
before us greatly heightened, when through the same 
Christ speaks to us of Himself; it is then sacred and 
divine ; the interest is much increased ; it is doubled 
in every part, deepened in every line. It is as when 
persons trace in the countenance of a child or a 
distant kinsman something that reminds them of a 
great or good man to whom he is related. They love 
to be reminded of him : it is from their reverence or 
affection for him that they notice it. How much 
more when it is one and the same Spirit speaking to 
us through them ; manifold intimations of the Living 
Word, the same yesterday and to-day ! 

To speak a little more particularly, our Blessed 
Saviour's character as the Son of Man, as the Pattern 
and Perfection of man in the image of God, is a sub- 
ject for continual contemplation ; some point in it for 
our meditation is found, now in a Prophet, now in a 
Psalm, now in a history or narrative ; some point is 
tbus brought out to our attention more fully than the 
brief notice of it in the Gospels. As for instance in 
the 53rd chapter of Isaiah the picture of His bodily 
sufferings is filled up with some incidents not mentioned 
by the Evangelists ; some circumstance of His secret 
grief we find in Jeremiah, which the Gospel confirms, 
but had not brought so distinctly to view; some 
expression of His sorrows in a Psalm, as throughout 
the 22nd, which we should not otherwise have consi- 
dered, for we have in these "the mind of Christ" 
suffering in the flesh. And the question now is what 
good thing there was in Joseph which may speak to us 
of Christ ? for as his sufferings were hallowed by their 


resemblance to those of Christ, as Christ was with 
him in those sufferings, much more in his soul also 
may be traced the footsteps of his Lord. This will 
come out more clearly as we consider Joseph's history. 
The first thing which strikes one in the account 
of him, is the remarkable manner in which God was 
with him throughout. He was forgotten of man, but 
not of God. This indeed is incidentally mentioned, 
but is impressed on his history throughout as its per- 
vading lesson. Thus we read, "And Joseph was 
brought down to Egypt." " And the Lord was with 
Joseph." " And his master saw that the Lord was 
with him." " And the Lord blessed the Egyptian's 
house for Joseph's sake." And then in the same chap- 
ter, when the scene is changed from the court to the 
dungeon, it is again and again repeated that " the Lord 
was with Joseph •." So much was this the case, that 
St. Stephen in speaking of Joseph, selects this for espe- 
cial mention, " The patriarchs, moved with envy, sold 
Joseph into Egypt : but God was with him *." But 
now what is there in the heart of man that corresponds 
to or answers this singular and peculiar Presence of 
Gt)d so emphatically mentioned ? It is a feeling and 
recognition of that Presence ; and this we shall find 
one of the most peculiar marks of Joseph's character. 
Pop God is every where alike ; but the effect of this 
Presence is not alike to all. The sun may be on many 
objects alike, but some things cast aside and reject his 
beams, or are hardened or cracked by them, while other 
objects drink in his influence, and are made by it full of 
life. What we most observe in Joseph is an unceasing 
sense of God's Presence; thus when tempted by 

< Gen. xxxix. 2. 3. 5. 21. 23. > Acts vii. 9. 


Potiphar's wife, the temptation fell off in an instant. 
'^ How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against 
God P" God*s eye was upon him ; he felt and knew 
it. Come what will he was shielded hj that. Then 
next in the prison, to his sad fellow-prisoners he in- 
stantly refers all wisdom to God. " And Joseph said 
unto them, Do not interpretations belong unto God * ? " 
And what he was in the prison he was in the palace ; 
his answer to Pharaoh is the same, " It is not in me, 
God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace'." Yet 
none are so apt to forget that wisdom is from God as 
the wise, who attribute it to themselves. It was other- 
wise with Joseph. Again, the same instant recog- 
nition of God occurs when each of his sons is bom *, 
As he afterwards also says, ** These are the sons whom 
Qt)d hath given me '." But it comes out more strongly 
still in his intercourse with his brethren. He refers 
every thing to God. It takes the sting from every 
wound, the power from every temptation. " God did 
send me before you to preserve life." And again, 
" So now it was not you that sent me hither, but Gt)d." 
And again, " Go up to my father and say, Qt)d hath 
made me lord of all Egypt*." And at last, "Ye 
thought evil against me, but Grod meant it unto good^." 
Thus we may say, as " God was with him," so he was 
with God in all things. 

Now our Blessed Saviour was different from all men 
in this respect, that in His days on earth He was 
compassed about and penetrated with such an intense 
coDsciousness, so to speak, of God's Presence. It was 

» Gen. xl. & » Gen. xli. 16. 

« See Gen. xli. 51, 52. * Gen. xlviii. 9. 

* Gen. xlr. 5. 8, 9. ' Gen. I. 20. 


as it were the verj Heaven of Heavens to approach 
Him, for it was to approach God. But of this we 
cannot speak. In that mysterious union of the two 
natures of G-od and man the light is so transcendent 
and Divine, that we cannot contemplate it as we should 
do, any more than we could gaze upon the sun ; but 
this light comes to us softened, the lesson comes 
down to ourselves, when He Himself speaks to us in 
the example of Joseph : so far as Joseph was of this 
mind we are to contemplate in him, not himself, but 
Christ. Por even of Christ Himself the Apostle 
thinks it meet to say, " He went about doing good, for 
Gh)d was with Him *." This intense realizing of God's 
Presence was no doubt in Joseph connected with his 
chastity, for to the pure in heart it is given to see 

Another point akin to the former and inseparable 
from it to be considered in Joseph, is his singular 
sweetness and affection ; forgiving injuries before the 
law of that forgiveness was given by Christ Himself; 
with a fellow-feeling for the sorrows of others, attract- 
ing to himself the love of all his masters by his dutiful 
love for them. When in prison, with what sympathy 
does he ask of his fellow-prisoners the occasion of their 
sadness! And in his interviews with his brothers, 
where shall we find such filial and brotherly affection P 
He cannot even endure to witness their mutual 
reproaches for the wrong they had done him, and the 
intolerable sufferings their malice had occasioned, but 
in exceeding tenderness and affection turns aside to 
weep — more than once in secret to weep, on seeing 
their sorrows. And afterwards he will not allow them 

* Acts X. 38. 


to ask for pardon, but says, " Now therefore be not 
grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me 
hither '." And long after, when their father was dead, 
and under the fears of their evil conscience, they besought 
his forgiveness, it melted again his compassionate heart. 
" And Joseph wept when they spake unto him *." " Am 
I in the place of God ? " Ask forgiveness of God, not 
of me. "And he comforted them," it is added, 
" and spake kindly unto them." And what had filled 
his heart with such pity instead of resentment ? What 
had borne him up and sustained him under such trials ? 
It was this constant sense of God's Presence — it was 
beholding His hand in all. In that " fiery trial " he 
was " made partaker of Christ's sufferings," though 
he knew it not, and the glory of Christ was in him 
revealed *. 

Such was love in Joseph, with such power to sweeten 
domestic troubles, to hallow incidents of life, to render 
him meek and gentle, when " the iron entered into his 
soul." Content to love, yet not to be loved ; to save, 
yet to be forgotten ; full of love when humbled to the 
pit, and to the dungeon, and full of love when thence 
in due season exalted of God. And combined with this 
love was wisdom. St. Stephen speaks of his wisdom'; 
and Pharaoh says to him, " There is none so discreet and 
wise as thou*." There is in St. John the like union 
of love and wisdom, but not that human tenderness, 
that affectionate yearning and sympathy. And a like 
difference may be seen between Joseph and Daniel ; 
there is in the latter love and wisdom, but it is more 

9 Gen. xlv. 6. » Gen. L 17. 

» 1 Pet. iv. 12, 13. » Acts vii. 10. 

* Gen. xli. 39, 


lofty, as of one more separate from mankind. There 
is also love and wisdom in David, which is in some 
respects still nearer to that of Joseph, but the sweet- 
ness and gentleness of Joseph is peculiarly his own. 
Every star has a hue, every flower a fragrancy, 
every countenance an expression different from that 
of another; so is it with Divine charity, the one 
light of the Heavenly Jerusalem, kindling jewel§ of 
many colours. 

It would then be a matter of much interest to 
dwell on the many incidents recorded of our Lord 
which indicate how Divine Love showed itself in 
things of this kind — ^not on occasions great and kingly 
as David ; not in intercession for a whole nation as 
Daniel; but in the more homely scenes of domestic 
life ; in His intercourse with those around Him ; His 
sympathy with the sorrows of others; His entering 
into all their wants, as in the marriage feast at Cana ; 
at the grave of Lazarus ; in His tender expostulation 
with Martha who was troubled about many things ; 
in His eating and drinking with publicans and sinners; 
in His being much grieved at those fears and troubles 
in His disciples which indicated a want of faith in 
Himself; in His weeping over those that were about 
to slay Him ; in His discourse with the Twelve at the 
Last Supper ; in His being often as one that needed 
sympathy but found it not. Li wonderful lowliness 
and much sorrow ; rejected of His own but received 
of strangers ; while His brethren said, " He is beside 
Himself," and they of Nazareth would have put 
Him to death ; as of Joseph they said, " Behold, this 
dreamer cometh :" yet these things did not stop the 
current of His loving-kindness towards them : while 
it was seen in every word and work how " God was 


\vitli Him," and it was His meat to do His Father's 

But there is one point in the history of Joseph 
which requires some explanation ; why it was that he 
delayed so long making himself known to his bre- 
thren ; kept them as it were at a distance in suspense 
and fear, prolonging a trial so painful both to himself 
and them. St. Chrysostom has supposed that it was 
owing to his fears for his brother Benjamin ; appre- 
hending that they may have put him also to death. 
He had certainly cause for such misgiving, to say no- 
thing of his father's own safety. But this is hardly 
sufficient to account for his conduct, especially as he 
continues in the same after he is aware of Benjamin's 
safety. St. Augustine observes that much as it adds 
to the sweetness and interest of the narrative, yet 
this will not explain it, but there must be grave and 
wise reasons for its being thus recorded, and it may 
be, he thinks, that it contains something of great 
mystical import *. But may we not suppose as Joseph 
was so distingmshed for his wisdom, both the wisdom 
of Egypt and the wisdom of God, and therefore in his 
knowledge of the human heart and modes of dealing 
with mankind, that he had some great object and 
design worthy of his love and wisdom ; that it was in 
order to bring them to repentance, as knowing that 
without repentance there could be nofliing good ? We 
shall, I think, find all things directed to this end, in a 
manner worthy of that great wisdom attributed to 
him; he maintained the long struggle so painful to 
his own feelings, to bring them to some proof of 
repentance towards God, in order that "judging them- 

* St. Aug. Qnses in Gen. xlvii vol. iii. 665. 


selves they might not be judged of the Lord.'* And 
thus when he found them expostulating with one 
another, self-accused and self-condemned, and at 
length confessing their guilt so long past and for- 
gotten ; this was the part of repentance, and he was 
much moved, even unto tears. And then after a 
further trial, when he found them loving Benjamin, 
tender of his life and safety, and of his father's life 
bound up in that of the lad ; then was there satis- 
faction indeed : and when at last Judah who had sold 
him wished himself to be put in bonds, at length was 
the trial completed. Upon this it is added, " Then 
Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that 
stood by him, . . . and he wept aloud, and the Egyptians 
and the house of Pharaoh heard. And Joseph said 
unto his brethren, I am Joseph, . . . come near to me, 
I pray you." 

Now a wise and good man deals with others in 
some measure as G-od does ; not making a show of his 
feelings, nor acting upon them, but counselling dis- 
creetly for their real good. And this behaviour of 
Joseph in the treatment of his brethren may receive 
illustration in that of our Lord Himself, especially in 
His keeping persons so long waiting while He called 
forth into definite act their repentance and faith ; it 
is His mode of dealing with us all unto this present 
hour. He knows us, but we know Him not; He 
makes Himself strange to us. He speaks roughly to 
us; nay, may we not venture to say it, from the 
expressions used in His prophets, that on our showing 
signs of repentance. He turns away that He may 
weep ? How many questionings arise with regard to 
the ways of God's mercy which are like those that 
occur to us respecting this conduct of Joseph ? "Why 


does God so long hide His face from us ? Why is 
He as a stranger, knowing us not ? Why does He 
leave the storms to arise, and for us to toil so long 
in the dark, and to be troubled, before He says, " It is 
I ; be not afraid ? ' ' Why does He leave Lazarus to con- 
tinue sick and to die, and his sisters to mourn P Why 
does He leave Mary Magdalene to seek Him so long and 
be perplexed, before He says to her, "Mary, weep 
not?" Or to come to this very history, why was 
Joseph so long a slave and in prison? Why was 
Jacob left so long to mourn in a hopeless sorrow 
while his son Joseph was all the while alive? We 
can only say with St. Augustine, when he speaks of 
Joseph and his brethren, that the light afiSdction was 
but for a moment, and not to be compared with the 
joy to be revealed. And oh the glad and wonderful 
' recognition and restoration to his father! What a 
mysterious resemblance does it seem to bear to our 
Lord Himself coming alive from the grave, and in 
Him to every penitent sinner whom He brings with 
Him from death, when "there is joy in Heaven;" 
and a voice is heard, " Eejoice with Me :" " for this 
my Son was dead and is alive again : He was lost and 
is found." 

"When the Lord turned again the captivity of 
Sion, then were we like unto them that dream. . . . Then 
said they among the Heathen, The Lord hath done 
great tldngs for them." " He that now goeth on his 
way weeping, and beareth good seed, shall doubtless 
come again with joy, and bring his sheaves with 



Numbers xii. 3. 

^ Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which 
were upon the face of the earth." 

SircH is the judgment of God respecting Moses, yet 
men might have thought otherwise, for Moses was 
by nature ardent and impetuous. Thus God said to 
St. Paul, " My strength is made perfect in weakness ;" 
and St. Paul testifies of himself, '' when I am weak 
then am I strong*." So was it with many of the 
Saints of God '. St. Peter, for instance, was called the 
Bock, from his firm faith in the Qodhead of Christ ; 
but this had ta be perfected in weakness : it was from 
want of firmness that St. Peter sank in the deep 
waters, till supported by Christ's hand; from want 
of firmness he thrice denied, till supported by Christ's 
look ; from want of firmness he erred when rebuked 
by St. Paul. Thus was it that where most weak there 

» 2 Cor. xii. 10. 

2 See ** On the Study of the Grospels," part vil sects, v. vi. vii. 

86 MOSES. 

was he by God's help made most strong. As in a 
besieged town all pains are taken to fortify the weak 
places until those weak places become its chief 
strength ; so the Spirit of God in the soul of man 
builds up and establishes where nature was failing, 
where Satan in consequence was directing his chief 
assaults. Por when good men prayed against their 
besetting infirmities, the power of God therein was 
given them. Hence, where that which was human 
failed, it is supplied by that which is Divine; and 
the power is seen to be of God. Thus at length 
wherein the soul has been most humbled it shall be 
most exalted ; that man may be nothing, and Christ 
may be All and in All. 

Thus Moses appears to have been naturally of a 
temper hasty and vehement ; as we first read of him 
in slaying the Egyptian, in defending the daughters 
of Jethro from the shepherds. There sounds some- 
thing of impatience in his complaint at the first, 
'* Lord, wherefore hast Thou so evil entreated this 
people? Why is it that Thou hast sent me'?" 
And " he went out from Pharaoh," we are told, " in 
a great anger*." Again, when on coming down from 
the Mount he beheld the idolatry of the Israelites, it 
is said, "Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the 
two tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath 
the Mount*." And on the rebellion of Dathan and 
Abiram, " Moses was very wroth, and said unto the 
Lord, Bespect not Thou their offering '." And the 
sin recorded of him was when, "being provoked in 
spirit, he spake unadvisedly with his lips." 

« Exod. V. 22. * Exod. xi. 9. 

* Exod. xxxii. 19. • Numb. xvi. 15. 

MOSES. 87 

It is then out of such a temper when controlled by 
the fear of God, and moulded by His grace, that the 
meekest of men is formed ; and all the trials he had 
to undergo through a long life were to form in him 
this meekness. Thus when reared in the palace of 
Pharaoh, what a trial to his spirit and temper must it 
have been to witness the sufferings his brethren had 
to undergo ; then for forty years had he to learn 
patience in exile and the desert ; and yet more when 
commissioned of G-od he stood before Pharaoh, while 
he relented so often and again hardened his heart ; 
but beyond all what greater trial of temper did any 
one ever undergo than that of bearing with the 
children of Israel so long in the wilderness P How 
often does God Himself speak as unable to bear any 
longer with ,them. Such then was the man whom 
God chose ; and such his probation like that of gold 
in the fire, till at length he came forth as a vessel 
perfected and made meet for his Master's use. 

"With regard to his slaying the Egyptian, Holy 
Scripture does not express approbation of that deed, 
but St. Stephen says that it was intended as a sign to 
the Israelites "that God by his hand would deliver 
them^." "As some weeds," says St. Augustine, 
^^ indicate a soil rich and good for cultivation, so his 
zeal on that occasion seemed to point out one meet to 
be a great Deliverer *." Thus God chooses evils of 
nature to be by His grace converted into good. On 
the stock of the wild olive is grafted the fruitful 
Branch. Thus from the Jewish persecutor of His 
Church He brought forth the great Apostle of the 
Gentiles; from St. Peter, who drew his sword and 

' Acta vii. 26. » Vol. viu. 621 ; vol. iii. 668. 

88 MOSES. 

deprecated the Cross, the patient Martyr and Con- 
fessor ; from St. John, who would bring down aveng- 
ing fire from Heaven, the great Teacher of Divine love. 

But mark in Moses the working of this temper, and 
how it became subdued by Divine grace ; for instance, 
when he came down from the Mount Moses was very 
wroth, so that Aaron said to him, " Let not the anger 
of my lord wax hot ;" but on this very occasion what 
a wonderful instance have we of Divine gentleness : 
we read that on the morrow "Moses said unto the 
people, Te have sinned a great sin : and now I will 
go up unto the Lord ; peradventure I shall make an 
atonement for your sin. And Moses returned unto 
the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great 
sin. . . . Tet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin — ; and 
if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of Thy book '." His 
anger had been a righteous indignation, a holy jea- 
lousy for God'^s honour; but what meekness did it 
work in him! Oh, that men who are naturally of 
a temper soon moved to anger would do like this! 
how would the mercies of God flow in upon the soul, 
and their peace abound like a river ! 

In like manner in the other instance we referred to 
where his anger is spoken of, he appears in meekness 
to be immediately after deprecating the just wrath of 
God. " Take a censer," said Moses to Aaron, " and go 
quickly unto the congregation, and make an atone- 
ment for them : for there is wrath gone out from the 
Lord^" Indeed it might be said that it was owing 
to the exceeding meekness of Moses interceding for 
them, that God so long spared them throughout their 
many provocations and rebellions. 

9 Exod. xxxii. 31^ 32. ^ Numb. xvi. 46. 

MOSES. 89 

On these occasions, and doubtless others of the 
same kind, this natural zeal in the disposition of 
Moses was not disapproved of God, but sanctified and 
perfected, bringing forth the heavenly temper of Divine 
charity ; but the one sin of Moses for which he was 
visited of God, and not allowed to enter the land of 
promise was that on which this hastiness, as it were, 
impaired his firm faith in God, when he smote the 
Bock twice. 

True meekness is shown not in acquiescing at the 
sight of sins that are against God, but in taking 
meekly offences against oneself ; and the case in which 
the statement of the Text is made, that Moses was the 
meekest of all men, is when Aaron and Miriam mur- 
mur against Moses himself, it is then that God inter- 
feres to take up the cause of Moses; and Moses 
intercedes for Miriam, and she at his intercession is 
restored '. It is on account of this meekness that, as 
there stated, he is admitted into such familiar inter- 
course with God. " My servant Moses is faithful in 
all Mine house. With him will I speak mouth to 
mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches." 
And indeed on that occasion when he sinned at the 
Bock there was a jealousy for God's honour, and im- 
patience at the murmuring of the people, when the 
faith of Moses gave way and was overclouded. It 
was on their account ; when that sin is spoken of, 
it is said more than once " the Lord was angry with 
me for your sokes ^ " They angered Him at the 
waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for 
their sakes'." 

And here we must observe that this judgment of 

« See also Numb. xi. 29. » Ps. cvl 32; Deut. i. 37; "i. 26. 

90 HOSES. 

God on that sia did not imply that He had blotted 
Moses out of His book of life, or the number of the 
Saints, or otherwise than forgive his sin. For He 
continued still to talk with him, and advise with him 
of the governing of His people, and spake to Joshua 
that he should be faithful to Him as His servant 
Moses. That was not the true Canaan from which he 
was shut out, but onljr the figure and shadow ; and 
that he was allowed to see ; a vision well worthy of all 
his labours, for the more excellent things signified by 
it. And that sin and its punishment was itself 
hallowed in a Divine mystery, and signification of 
Christ's future kingdom. That Eock was Christ ; and 
the rod spoke of His Cross ; and the failing of Moses 
of the Apostles failing in that trial ; even those with 
whom Q-od had conversed face to face, and spoken with 
as to friends, " even apparently " and openly, and not 
in proverbs. As Moses wavered at the smiting of the 
Eock, so Apostles doubted at the Cross, when the 
Eock was smitten, and found in it ^^a stone of stumbling 
and rock of offence," as St. Peter thrice denied, and had 
before deprecated that Cross ; and the disciples going 
to Emmaus said, as having lost hope, " We trusted that 
it should have been He Who should have redeemed 
Israel." But at the Eesurrection they saw the land 
of promise, and doubt died. And at the Ascension 
when they went up the Mount of Olives, they saw as 
it were still more the promised land, though they 
entered not in, till death had closed their eyes. And 
from the Mount of the Transfiguration also they had 
a view of that promised land of the Eesurrection, and 
of the glory that shall be revealed. And Moses was 
there as one who shall with them enter into that 
better land hereafter, though he entered not into that 

MOSES. 91 

Canaan which was but the figure of the true. Ho 
saw and he bare witness, and he led Israel thither, but 
he entered not in ; and this too in figure, as setting 
forth that it is not for the Law to enter in, but the 
grace which follows, and is prefigured in Joshua*. 
" For the Law was given by Moses, but grace and 
truth came by Jesus Christ." And again, " The Law 
made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better 
hope did *." And indeed the imperfection of the 
Law was shown in the Lawgiver himself. For that 
Israel might not glory in man, but look forward to 
Him that was to come, God has been pleased that one 
so exalted, and brought so near to Himself as Moses 
was, should be thus reproved in death, as falling short 
of the glory of Grod. 

Such then was Moses ®, of whom it is said that he 
was '' a merciful man, which found favour in the sight 
of all flesh, beloved of God and men, whose memorial 
is blessed'." Great in wisdom, for "mysteries are 
revealed unto the meek ;" and wise in greatness, for 
the meek are upholden of God. We think of Moses 
in connexion with the Holy Mount as one above the 
world ; the Mount Sinai where he was alone with God ; 
the Mount Horeb with the smitten Eock; the mountain 

* St. Aug. vui. 470. » Heb. vii. 19. 

* The character of Moses is thus beautifully given by St. 
Augustine : ** Hunc Moysen, humilem in recusando tam magnum 
ministerium, subditum in suscipiendo, iidelem in servando, stren- 
uum in exsequendo ; in regendo populo vigilantera, in corrigendo 
vehementem, in amando ardentem, in sustinendo patientem ; qui 
pro eis quibus prsefuit, Deo se interposuit consulenti, opposuit 
irascenti ; hunc talem ac tantum virum . . . et amamus^ et 
admiramur, et quantum possumus imitamur." (Con. Fans. xxii. 
Tol. Tiii. 621.) 

' EccluB. xly. 1. 

92 MOSES. 

top where he interceded against Amalek ; the Mount 
Fisgah where he saw the promised Canaan, and was 
buried of God ; the Mount Sion which he beheld in 
the distance as the place of the Law ; and the Mount 
Tabor where he was again seen with Christ. Now 
this may serve by way of similitude to express Moses 
as compared with other men ; he is on the top of the 
mountain with God ; he walks on high with God ; he 
is not as other men, but raised far above, conversing 
with Grod, illumined by God's Presence ; his ways are 
on the high mountain, and his feet clad with the 
Gospel ; his stature ts seen on the sky glowing in the 
golden light of the evening sun, and appearing to us 
below as one greater than man ; yet though so eminent 
and exalted of God, he was not high-minded, but 
meek, meekest of men. 

And thus with regard to the character given of 
Moses, it is peculiar in this from that of all men ; that 
it is the one character which our Blessed Savioiu* has 
expressly taken to Himself, as peculiarly His own ; for 
he says,- " Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of 
heart." Abraham was faithful ; Joseph was chaste ; 
Job was patient ; Solomon was wise ; Daniel a man of 
love; but none of these characters has our Lord 
singled out for especial mention as His own, but that 
of Moses, which is meekness, and with the promise 
that they who of Him learn this meekness shall find 
rest. Now Moses took them not into that rest, which 
was signified by the Sabbath, and by the Canaan, which 
was held out to them of God. He entered not in 
himself; but in not entering in he was made partaker 
of that rest of which Canaan itself was but the figure ; 
for on account of his meekness he found rest in God. 
Thus by being shut out he was in the secret mercies of 

MOSES. 93 

God more truly admitted into that rest ; — like St. Peter, 
thrice allowed to express his love, because of his three- 
fold denial, and gifted thereby with his shepherd's 
staff, and his Master's Cross ' ; — in judgment he found 
mercy, and in death, life ; lost the earthly that he 
might enter into the heavenly Canaan; for he was 
worthy of a better rest. 

But in considering the history of Moses our atten- 
tion is most drawn to our Lord's own words, " Had ye 
believed Moses, ye would have believed Me : for he 
wrote of Me'." Moses wrote of Christ, spoke of 
Christ, represented Christ, and that in ways many and 
manifold. His history is indeed all of Christ ; it is 
all the Gospel under a veil ; by One and the same 
Spirit ; of One and the same Christ ; by One and the 
same Father that revealeth from above to the secret 
heart. And thus when God first appeared unto 
Moses, and called him, it was with the Name of the 
Everlasting God, ** I AM." As not to the Jews only, 
but to us of all time does He speak through Moses. 
And on the same occasion not only does He. proclaim 
Himself by the name of the Everlasting God, but also 
by a name by which He is to be known for ever, as 
the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as putting on 
our nature and coming to dwell among us. And then 
in that Burning Bush from which He spake, the fire 
was of Heaven, of the Everlasting Light, but the Bush, 
which it consumed not, was of earth ; the Godhead and 
the Manhood, compassed about with thorns of suffering 
flesh. And then through Moses in the fires of Mount 
Sinai He gives forth the Law, which by another and 
better Pentecost is to be written on the heart in grace 

» St. John xxi. 18. « St. John v. 46. 

04 HOSES. 

and love. The veil is taken away from the face of 
Moses, and we see in him the meekness of Christ, like 
that glory from Him which made his face to shine. 
Moses had said unto them, "A Prophet shall your 
Lord God raise up unto you, like unto me." Like 
unto Moses, not only in that Moses bears in many 
ways the image and figure of the Word made Flesh, 
but also in this character of meekness. 

Thus the Law itself comes to us clothed as it were 
in " the meekness and gentleness of Christ " our Law- 
giver ; and the Spirit Himself, who writes that Law 
on the heart, " intercedeth for us with groanings that 
cannot be uttered ;" and He that gives us the com- 
mand, gives us also the Spirit of prayer, by which that 
life-giving command may be obeyed. 

Let us consider this a little more particularly. 
Take the four first of the ten commandments given by 
Moses on Mount Sinai. These four speak to us of the 
love of God, and contain within them all the parts and 
duties of this love. These commandments, we are told 
by Moses, are to be written on all that we say, and do, 
and think ; they are to be inscribed on all that we 
possess, or seek, or know ; they are to possess our- 
selves. But now our Blessed Saviour, in His unspeak- 
able meekness, as the Son of Man giving us to partake 
of His grace, has converted as it were those command- 
ments into a daily prayer. For when in the Lord's 
Prayer we pray to God as " Our Father," what is this 
but owning the one and only God, and "none other " but 
Him, as our God and Father, and seeking from Him 
in meekness all that this the first commandment would 
require ? And when we add to this, " Which art in 
Heaven," we set aside all idols, and turn to God Who 
is a Spirit, and must be " worshipped in spirit and in 

HOSES. 95 

trutl," through Him Who is the only Mediator 
between God and man. We do what we can to 
engraft on our hearts through the meekness of prayer 
the second commandment. And when we next pray, 
" Hallowed be Thy name," we seek His all-powerftil 
aid to fulfil in all its duties the third commandment of 
" Not taking Good's name in vain." We reverence there- 
by that Holy Name by which we are called, the Anointed 
One, Whose Name is upon us, in Whose anointing 
we partake ; we " sanctify the Lord God in the heart." 
And when we add, " Thy kingdom come," Y^e remember 
in prayer that sabbath of rest which God has promised, 
we hold in solemn remembrance that kingdom which 
is a perpetual sabbath, and the coming in of the day 
of God. Thus it is that the commandments written 
on tables of stone are impressed on our hearts by the 
Holy Spirit in prayer, through the meekness of Christ. 
Thus hath He turned the fires of Mount Sinai into 
the tender light of Mount Sion. Thus the com- 
mandments, which could not give rest, in the 
New Man become the yoke of Christ, and through 
meekness bring to Him Who is our Eest. Thus 
then it is that the character of the Lawgiver Him- 
self represents in figure the Mediator of the new 
covenant, Him on Whose countenance we may look 
and be transformed into the same image of meek- 
ness, through the Spirit of Him Who speaketh to 
the heart in prayer. Thus God Who gave out the 
Law amidst the terrors of Mount Sinai, proclaimed at 
the same time His name as '' the Lord God, merciful 
and gracious, long-sufiering, and abundant in good- 
ness';" and as a pledge of His goodness promised 

^ Exod. xxxiv. 6, 

96 MOSES. 

another Lawgiver, Who should speak as Gted, yet 
should be compassed about with brotherly sympathies; 
" a prophet from among your brethren," one Who is 
meek beyond the sons of men, and Whose yoke 
through that meekness is made easy and His burden 
light. Eor He Who is the Lawgiver is Himself the 
Comforter ; He is Himself our Law, and He Himself 
is Love, and through meekness we partake of Him. 
He that is most meek prays most ; for the life of the 
meek is of itself a continual prayer ; and he that prays 
most enters most into that '* rest which remaineth for 
the people of God." 

Let no one then say, " I am by nature passionate," 
for so was Moses, the meekest of men ; but let him 
learn to say rather, " It is God that girdeth me with 
strength of war, and maketh my way perfect." " Thou 
hast given me the defence of Thy salvation; Thy 
right hand also shall hold me up, and Thy loving 
correction shall make me great'." 

2 Ps. xviii. 32. 35. 



Hebrews v. 4. 

** And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is 
called of God, as was Aaron.*' 

Iir considering the history of Aaron we must have 
been struck with the absence of strength and point in 
his own character ; we might almost say with ihiB want 
of character altogether. So that gifted as he was in 
speech beyond Moses, yet no saying of wisdom is 
recorded of him ; and though he bore so eminent a 
part in the most important history of the world, and 
the miraculous events which accompanied the establish- 
ment of the Law, yet no memorable action is men- 
tioned of himself alone; all is in conjunction with 
Moses, nothing apart by himself. And even his sins 
seem to have been owing rather to a want of strength 
in his character, than from a disposition to evil ; his 
making the golden calf was in obedience to the people ; 
his contention against Moses appears to have been 
rather at the instigation of Miriam than his own ; and 
when Moses himself failed in faith at the Bock, Aaron 

98 AABON. 

was combined with him in that fall ; it is spoken of as 
the sin of both in common '. 

But now what is the reason of this, that God should 
have chosen one to act a part so eminent, who has in 
himself so little to arrest our interest or claim our 
admiration ? It is no doubt in order that our atten- 
tion may be turned away from the man to the office. 
We behold him great indeed, as the " Prophet " of 
Moses, as speaking from him of the things of God ; 
we see him in '* the robe of honour, and clothed with the 
perfection of glory ;" with the golden crown of " Holi- 
ness unto the Lord " on his head, and the Urim and 
Thummim, with the twelve tribes shining in radiant 
jewels on his breast ; " in his coming out of the sanc- 
tuary, as the morning star in the midst of a cloud, and 
as the moon at the full *." But in himself and of 
himself we see him not, either in greatness of mind, 
or in wisdom, or in goodness. "With the censer in his 
hand he is all-prevailing ; with the rod of God the 
wonder-worker ; in his ministrations he is as a con- 
tinual mediator; but without the insignia of his 
calling we know him not. And all this, that more 
clearly may be seen the dignity itself of the Priesthood 
first instituted in him. As St. Paul says, " We have 
this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of 
the power may be of God'." 

But as Aaron is the prototype and representative of 
the Priesthood, does this signify the Jewish Priest- 
hood and that of the Law engaged in the services and 
sacrifices of the Temple ? It cannot be confined to 

I Numb. XX. 12. * Ecclus. 1. 5, 6. 1 1. 

> 2 Cor. iv. 7. 

AABON. 99 

this altogether, though it be so in some measure and 
after a manner. For it is said of the Priesthood 
instituted in Aaron that it is to continue for ever. 
The words are, '' Thou shalt anoint them," i.e. Aaron 
and his sons, ** that thej may minister unto Me in the 
Priest's office, for their anointing shall surely be an 
everlasting priesthood ^." As it is elsewhere expressed, 
*' Moses consecrated and anointed him ;" and '' this was 
appointed by an everlasting covenant, so long as the 
heavens should remain, that they should minister unto 
Him'." This then could not have been the legal 
Priesthood, for that was then to be abolished, and has 
now abeady ceased. It could not, as St. Augustine says, 
have been spoken of the figure or shadow which was 
to pass away, but of that substance in which it was to 
be fulfilled, that this continuance was to be *. But 
now in what is this true fulfilment of the Legal Priest- 
hood ? for of itself it '^ served but as an example of 
heavenly things," . . . "according to the pattern 
shewed in the Mount';" it was but, as St. Paul says 
of the Sabbath, " a shadow of things to come, but the 
body is of Christ *." Is it then our Lord's own Per- 
sonal Priesthood, that by which He offered up the 
one great Sacrifice of Himself upon the Cross, and 
hath entered within the vail; that which He now 
exercises, unseen by us, in Heaven, as our Intercessor 
and Mediator on the right hand of Ood ? No, this 
could not have been the fulfilment of that which was thus 
ordained in Aaron ; for we are told expressly that Christ 
is the High Priest for ever, " after the order of Melchi- 

4 Exod. xl. 15. s Ecclus. xly. 15. 

« Vol. viL p. 741 . ' Ueb. yiii. 5. 

• CoL it 17. 


iOO AAEOir. 

sedec, and not after the order of Aaron'." Of that 
High Priesthood it must he said, as of Melchizedeck, 
and as of the Holy Spirit, that we " know not whence 
it Cometh, nor whither it goeth." In what then is to 
be found the everlasting Priesthood of Aaron ? It is 
no doubt in that which Christ still exercises below in 
the sight of men by the ordinance of the Christian 
ministry. This is the anointing " by an everlasting 
covenant as long as the Heavens shall remain." " For 
the Law maketh men High Priests which have infir- 
mity *." Eemoved by death, they are ever renewed by 
the anointing of the Blessed Spirit which abideth for 

The Levitical Priesthood itself while the Law de- 
clared it to be an everlasting Priesthood, yet was 
compassed about in all its bearings with death and 
sin. All things in the institution of Aaron and in 
the fulfilment of his office indicated this infirmity; 
the consecrating of Aaron, with all its requirements, 
the washing, and cleansing, and sanctifying, and the 
ofiering for himself before he ofiered for others *. On 
all is stamped the acknowledgment of sin and weak- 
ness, such as could have no place in Him who was the 
High Priest after the order of Melchizedeck. Such 
therefore by reason of death could not continue, nor 
set forth Him Who "abideth a Priest continually," 
after the power of an endless life. Aaron signifying 
the Priesthood as well as Moses signifying the Law died 
first, and neither of them led the people into the land 
of promise ', leaving that for the true Joshua to do. 

Thus the last Prophet, Malachi, when he speaks of 

Heb. vii. 11. » Heb. vii. 28. 

^ See Lev. xiii. ix. &c. ' St. Aug. viii. 356. 

AAEOK. 101 

our Lord's speedy coming to His temple, says, " He 
shall sit as a refiner, and purify the sons of Levi ;" 
but as our Lord's coming did away with the temple 
and its sacrifices, it is evident that it is in His Church 
He is thus to sit, purifying the everlasting Priesthood 
He had appointed. And of this we have a lively 
representation in the Eevelation where our Lord, as 
the Befiner, in addressing the Angels of the Churches 
which He holds as, seven stars in His right hand, 
with " His eyes as a flame of fire," and " His counte- 
nance as the sun," yet preserves still the figures of 
the Legal Priesthood, appearing in the midst of the 
seven candlesticks, " clothed with a garment down to 
the foot, and girt about with a golden girdle." Thus 
as He then says of Himself, ** 1 am Se that liveth and 
was dead ; and behold, I am alive for evermore," so 
the same may be said of the visible Priesthood. And 
this its revival and continuance was beautifully set 
forth in Aaron's rod preserved in the sanctuary toge- 
ther with the Manna which prefigured the Bread from 
Heaven. For that Hod speaks at once of the Cross 
of Christ, budding forth after His death into that 
Christian Priesthood which He had left to take His 
place upon earth. That which was dead is alive in a 
more Divine and glorious form. 

And thus when God in the Prophet Malachi says 
that He has " no pleasure " in those His priests after 
the Law, " nor will accept an offering at their hands," 
it is added that " from the rising of the sun even unto 
the going down of the same," " in every place incense 
shall be offered unto His Name, and a pure offering." 
For thus since our Lord's death in the Liturgies of 
the Church is the incense ; and in the memorial of 
His death the continual sacrifice; while as Priests 

102 AAEOK. 

after the order of Aaron, the Christian minister uses 
the same form of Benediction which was given to the 
sons of Levi ; as in our Service for the Visitation of 
the Sick*. 

It is then in connexion with the Christian Priest- 
hood that we consider the history and character of 
Aaron. And here the first thing that occurs to us is 
that all the power of Aaron consists in his conjunction 
with Moses ; through Moses and Aaron are carried on 
all the mighty works, the ordinances, and guidings of 
the people throughout. Their history comes to us like 
their names together, " Moses and Aaron." Without 
Moses Aaron is as nothing in himself, excepting for 
the Priesthood which he hears. Considering Aaron 
then as representing the Christian Priesthood, we 
must look upon Moses in lujion with him as a figure 
of our Lawgiver Himself. Thus Aaron is made en- 
tirely subordinate to Moses and subject to him. This 
appears in the first mention of Aaron when God says 
to Moses, " Thou shalt speak unto him, and put words 
in his mouth." "And he shall be thy spokesman 
unto the people ; and he shall be to thee instead of a 
mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God \" 
Of which St. Augustine says, " Perhaps herein is to 
be traced a great sacrament of which this bears the 
figure, that Moses is as mediator between God and 
Aaron; Aaron the mediator between Moses and the 
people." •* It clearly indicates," he says, " the prin- 
cipid place to be in Moses, the ministration in 
Aaron'." Similar words are again repeated in the 
Book of Exodus which seem to contain this mysterious 

* Numb. vi. 23. 27- * Exod. iv. 16, 16. 

* Quaes, in £xod. vol. iii. 670. 

AABOir. 103 

alliuuon to a Di?ine Mediator. " And the Lord," we 
read, *^ said unto Moses, See, I ha?e made thee a god 
to Pharaoh ; and Aaron thy brother shall be thy pro- 

And this indeed marks the whole history; every 
thing is in conjunction with Moses, every thing in 
subordination to him. Moses directs, counsels, re- 
proves Aaron. He speaks to God for him, and inter- 
cedes in his behalf; and when it is said that '^ the 
Lord was very angry with Aaron V' Aaron is spared 
at the intercession of Moses. He speaks to God for 
him ; and he speaks to Aaron from God continually 
and throughout ; in Egypt before Pharaoh ; in the 
guidance of the people through the wilderness ; in the 
institution of the sacred ordinances and laws. Aaron 
addresses him with deference, though Moses was his 
younger brother, and calls him "My lord.'* When 
the face of Moses shone on his coming down from the 
Mount, it is said that Aaron as well as the rulers 
feared to approach him '. Moses with the rod of God 
prevailed against Amalek in prayer, but Aaron and 
Hur had the humbler ministration of sustaining his 
hands '. Through all these things we distinctly read 
that the Christian Priesthood as represented by Aaron 
are as nothing of themselves, but in union with and 
submission to their great Lawgiver; that they are 
always to be approaching God through the One 
Mediator which is Christ, they are to do nothing but 
at His bidding, at His appointment, and in conjunc- 
tion with Him ; they are to receive all at His mouth, 
and as from His mouth to speak for Him to the 

' Exod. vii. 1. « Deut. ix. 20. 

» Exod. xxxiv. 30. » Exod. xvii. 12. 

104 AAjaoK. 

It IS He that intercedes like Moses on the Mount 
till the going down of the sun, but He requires that 
the Christian Priesthood should in lowly co-operation 
unite with Him, and as it were aid in the lifting up of 
His hands. He is thus graciously pleased to combine 
them with' Himself. 

Thus we learn that in the Christian Priesthood we 
are not to look for any great wisdom, or power of 
intellect, or strength of mind beyond other men, of 
themselves, but as they are in conjunction with Christ, 
speak to us from Him, and as far as He is Himself with 
them and confirming their words. " The Priest's lips " 
are to " keep knowledge ;" " for he is the messenger 
of the Lord of hosts *." It is because they speak not 
their own words but the words of God. " I will be 
with his mouth," said God, "and he shall be thy 
spokesman unto the people." "I will give you a 
mouth and wisdom," says our Lord to His disciples ; 
" it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father 
which speaketh in you." Thus all their strength is as 
being with Christ; speaking from Him, and with Him, 
as His ambassadors and stewards. His " prophets," i. e. 
as speaking for Him. He is the Rock on which they 
are built ; His Cross has become their guiding staff 
by which they go before and guide the sheep ; the rod 
in their hands that works wonders ; but the less they 
are in themselves the more will His strength be seen 
in them. Nay, more ; they of themselves are com- 
passed with infirmities, and this will appear whenever 
they are apart from Him. 

Hence not only is the character and institution of 
Aaron full of warning and instruction, but so also are 


AABOK. 105 

the most marked events in his history. When Aaron 
with Miriam *' spake against Moses,'* the exceeding 
meekness of Moses himself is mentioned in aggravation 
of their conduct ; there was in him such an absence of 
self-seeking. " Enviest thou for my sake ? " he said on 
another occasion to Joshua, " would God that all the 
Lord's people were prophets." We see in Apostles 
the like tendency to err against the meekness and 
mercies of Christ; and both occasions continue to 
carry on the like caution to the Christian ministry. 
The offence Moses had given was that he '' had mar- 
ried the Ethiopian woman," so the stumbling-block 
to the first Apostolic Priesthood was in the mystery 
of Christ, that His mercy had espoused the Church of 
the Gtentile. 

Again, it is not without surprise and disappointment 
that we read of Aaron himself, when Moses was 
absent in the Mount with God, making the golden 
calf for the people, and joining them in that terrible 
Ming away; and this too after God had wrought 
such great miracles by his hand. It is indeed as if 
he had cast to the ground the rod which God had put 
into his hands, and it had there become a serpent. 
His fEuth failed, and the High Priest of God had 
become the maker of an idol. There is an occasion 
which much corresponds with this recorded in the 
Gospels which we cannot think of without something 
of the like astonishment. It is when our Lord came 
down fix)m the Mount of Transfiguration, and found 
His own Apostles whom He had left below failing in 
faith, so that they were unable to cast out the unclean 
spirit from the child; and then too it was in like 
manner under the pressure of the multitude, and of 
the Scribes questioning and confounding them. And 

106 AABOK. 

this falling away too was so remarkable, that it drew 
from our liord Himself an expression as it were of 
wonder and disappointment, as it had done from Moses 
on the former occasion: ''O faithless and perverse 
generation,'' He exclaimed, " how long shall I be with 
you ? how long shall I suflfer you ? " 

And these two events recorded in Scripture which 
seem so remarkably to correspond with, and confirm 
each other, naturally lead on our thoughts to consider 
whether they may not be intended as a warning, re- 
presenting to us something to occur in the Christian 
Church hereafter;— even in these latter days, when our 
Lord being with God, and absent as it were on the 
Mount, He shall find on His return His own ministers 
falling away. Por in like manner of surprise or mourn- 
ful prophecy, when speaking of the great power which 
His elect have in prayer with Q-od, He adds, " Never- 
theless when the Son of Man cometh, shall He find 
faith upon the earth' ?" 

The circumstance is quite amazing, that Aaron should 
have made a golden calf for the people to worship, yet 
in these latter days of which we speak, something 
occurs which may have a resemblance to it in character, 
when " the abomination of desolation shall stand in the 
holy place." Of both alike we may say in the words 
of St. John in the Eevelation, " When I saw I wondered 
with great admiration ^'* And it may be that as at 
our Lord's first coming the Jewish Priesthood with 
Scribes and Pharisees, so at His second coming the 
Christian Priesthood shall be found wanting. Por 
when our Lord spake in those awful terms respecting 
His last coming, it was St. Peter himself that asked 

' St Luke xviii. a * Rev. xvii. 6. 

AABOK. 107 

the question, whether He alluded particularly to them- 
Belves whom He left as His stewards and servants ; to 
which our Lord spake in answer of ^' that faithful and 
wise steward" made bj his Lord "ruler over His 
household ;" but as if intimating this w^ant of fidelity, 
He added, '' But and if that evil servant shall say in 
his heart, My Lord delayeth His coming, and shall 
begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat 
and drink, and be drunken ; the Lord of that servant 
will come in a day when he looketh not for Him *." 
Now here it is implied that such evil servant will think 
within himself that his Lord is delaying, and yet He 
had just said that His return should be very speedy 
and sudden. In like manner we are astonished to find 
that when the absence of Moses in the Mount had been 
for so very short a time, yet it should have given rise 
to such unbelief and idolatry ; for there likewise it is 
said, " When the people saw that Moses delayed to 
come down from the Mount, they gathered themselves 
together unto Aaron, saying. As for this Moses, the 
man that brought us iip out of Egypt, we wot not 
what is become of him ®." Yet he had only been out 
of their sight for forty days. And our Lord's ex- 
pression of His faithless servant, that he " shall eat 
and drink, and be drunken," seems to imply that intoxi- 
cation of the heart which Moses found on his return ; 
that "music and dancing," when "the people," it is 
said, " sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to 
play." It seems as if the accounts of both these 
occurrences are thus given to correspond with each 
other to draw our thoughts to the resemblance. 
But in our Lord's description of the failure of His 

' St. Luke xii. 45, 46. < Exod. xxxii. I. 

108 AAEON. 

Priesthood there is another point which we cannot 
pass over without notice : for the power of His Priest- 
hood, the unction of the Holy One, or as it is expressed 
in the Law of Moses, "the anointing of the everiasting 
covenant," depends on the mutual love and union with 
which they are bound together. For the Priesthood 
of Aaron when it was ratified in the Christian Church 
was founded not in one as Aaron, but in twelve. The 
Urim and Thummim, the light and truth of God, was 
to be one formed of twelve, and therefore depended on 
their mutual union and adherence. And this power our 
Lord represents as broken in the last days, when love 
waxing cold, the servant whom He hath left as ruler 
of His household "shall begin to beat his fellow 
servants." And thus the blessing that came upon the 
Head of Aaron, the anointing oil by whjch He was 
consecrated, is spoken of as representing Divine love, 
or union among brethren. It is indeed this union of 
Christian fellowship which exhibits that secret anointing 
of the Spirit to the people, this union especially of the 
Priesthood ; by " this shall all men know that ye are 
My disciples," — that ye My Apostles partake of the 
true anointing, — " if ye have love one to another." It 
is to this that the increase is promised, and the 
enduring life. " The precious ointment upon the head, 
that ran down unto the beard, even unto Aaron's 
beard ; and went down to the skirts of his clothing ; 
like as the dew of Hermon;" "for there the Lord 
promised His blessing, and life for evermore." Thus 
therefore it was that while Aaron only represents one 
Priest separately in his relation to God, and also to the 
people, or the one Priesthood, yet his very anointing 
is spoken of by the Psalmist as indicating this brotherly 
concord, in which the unction and power, the goodliness 

AABON. 109 

and joj, tlie sweetness and strength of that Priesthood 
would consist. For in this the Christian benediction is 
**the fellowship of the Holy Ghost," in union with 
which is found " the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
and the love of Gk>d." 

In conclusion, it may be observed that there is one 
circumstance which strikes one in connexion with the 
history of Aaron with respect to the Christian Priest- 
hood, which may give rise to some awful reflections. 
Aaron fell into great sins, and these much aggravated 
by hia being a Priest of God, yet for none of these 
is be punished. Aaron, together with his sister 
Miriam, rebelled and spake against Moses, " and the 
anger of the Lord," it is said, " was kindled against 
them." Miriam was immediately stricken with leprosy. 
** And Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she 
was leprous ;" but we do not read of Aaron himself 
being punished for that sin^. And so likewise when 
Aaron had made the idolatrous calf, the people were 
heavily visited for that sin, but not Aaron himself, 
" The Lord plagued the people, because they made the 
calf, which Aaron made*." Now what are we to 
understand from this but that the sin of the Priest is 
especially reserved for the judgment of God ; it is 
beyond what human law can reach ; indeed human 
laws are only able to take into account sins that are 
against society ; they cannot punish sins against God. 
In a peculiar manner " to his own master he standeth 
or falleth." 

Now all these considerations which the circum- 
stances and the character of Aaron give rise to are, 
I think, especially calculated for the Laity, as leading 

7 Namb. xii. ' Exod. xxxii. 35. 

110 JLABON. 

tbem to sobriety of thought and expectation respecting 
the Clergy ; that while they " esteem them very highly 
in love for their work's sake," they do not look for too 
much in their personal powers and endowments, and 
even in their spiritual attainments; but endeavour in all 
things to look beyond them to Him whose servants and 
representatives they are, " the One Mediator between 
God and man, the Man Christ Jesus ;'* and especially 
should these reflections lead them to a more than 
ordinary compassion for their infirmities and failings, 
as remembering that they have to give an account of 
their stewardship to their own Master, and not to His 
people ; and therefore as having, beyond all others, a 
claim upon their prayers. " If one man sin against 
another, the judge shall judge him ; but if a man sin 
against the Lord, who shsdl intreat for him ' ?" 

> 1 Sam. iu 25. 



Exodus ix. 12. 
^ And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh/' 

Thxbe is BO doubt some great reason why the 
history of Fbaraoh should be so much held up to our 
remembrance; and the most marked point con- 
nected with him is that Scripture, in reference to him, 
with such remarkable frequency and repetition, uses 
the expression that Ood hardened his heart. This 
then requires our particular attention. It is indeed 
said in this account that Pharaoh hardened his own 
heart, or that his heart was hardened ; but the point 
which strikes us, and is no doubt intended to do so, 
is that of the Text. 

It may be that the conduct of Pharaoh is so lifted 
up to our eyes, as casting its shadow over the future, 
as containing in it the resemblance of other events, as 
a prophecy ; for in Scripture history is often prophecy, 
and prophecy is often history. There are two 
occasions which Pharaoh seems to foreshadow ; and on 
both of which the like expression, so startling and 


impressive, is used, attributing the effect to God. The 
one is when Israel itself after the flesh takes the place 
of Pharaoh, and persecutes the Israel after the Spirit, 
the true children of Abraham, when God brings them 
out from the faUing Jerusalem '* with signs and with 
wonders," " and with an outstretched arm ;** then also 
this expression is drawn out from the Prophets, and 
marked by the Evangelists. "But though He had 
done so many miracles before them," says St. John, 
" yet they believed not on Him. . . . They could not 
believe, because that Esaias said. He hath blinded their 
eyes, and hardened their heart. . . . These things, said 
Esaias, when he saw His glory, and spake of Him '." 
And our Lord Himself frequently refers to the same. 

Another point to be observed in this and other like 
passages of Scripture is, that not only is such stated 
to be the case, but it is also shown that God had 
Himself declared beforehand that it should be so. 
** They could not believe, because that Esaias said." 
And in Isaiah the commission is expressly given to 
*' Go and harden their hearts, make their ears heavy, 
and shut their eyes'." The same is the case in this 
history in Exodus. Thus it is said beforehand to 
Moses, when he is first appointed to go to Pharaoh, 
that he is to " do all those wonders before " him, 
" but," it is added, « I will harden his heart*." And 
this, viz. that God had so foretold it from the begin- 
ning, is alluded to in the passage of the text, and in 
other places where the like is stated, that " the Lord 
hardened his heart, and he hearkened not; as the 
Lord," it is added, "had spoken by Moses." And 

> St, John xii. 37—40. » Isa. vi. 9, iO. 

» £xod.iv. 21. 


again, " And He hardened Pharaoh's heart, as the Lord 
had said." And before his going unto him it is again 
repeated, ''Thou shalt speak all that I command 
thee. . . . And I will harden Pharaoh's heart," and 
" Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you*." Thus pains 
are taken in Scripture not only to express this, that Grod 
hardens the heart, but also to point it out as especially 
God's own doing by the prophecies going before. 

All this is again shown by St. Paul in the 9th 
chapter of his Epistle to the Romans, where he dwells 
on the same at great length, referring in the first 
place to this hardening of the heart by God Himself 
in the case of Pharaoh, and then applying it to the 
Jews, and pointing out especially that God had before- 
hand foretold this His doing. We may express it in 
the words of the Psalmist; "God spake once, and 
twice I have also heard the same : that power 
belongeth unto God." "And all men that see it 
shall say. This hath God done ; for they shall perceive 
that it is His work *." 

The other period on which the account of Pharaoh 
seems to bear is that of Antichrist ; so much so, that 
in the Eevelation, like plagues to those of Egypt 
are described as then occurring; and like as the 
magicians worked their false miracles before Pharaoh, 
it is said, "The spirits of devils, working miracles, 
shall go forth to kings'." Antichrist shall come with 
" great signs and wonders " to deceive ; it shall be with 
" seducing spirits." But now of those days the like 
striking expression is used, referring it to God, " God 
shall send on them a strong delusion, that they shall 

♦ Exod. vii. 13. 2—4. « Ps. Ixii. 11 ; Ixiv. 0. 

• Rev, XVI, 14. 



believe a lie.'* The same may apply to different ages 
and countries, after a manner. It has often been 
observed that before destruction comes on a guilty 
nation, there goes before a strong infatuation and a 
hardness of heart against warnings and judgments, so 
much so that it has passed into a proverb, that. God 
sends madness before destruction. 

Before entering more particularly into this subject, 
we may just notice this awful and impressive circum- 
stance, that under this judicial blindness from God a 
change takes place before men are aware of it, so that 
the people of God become the people of Satan. Israel 
in Egypt bore the strongest stamp of being God's peo- 
ple : their being called out of Egypt to hold a feast 
or sacrifice unto God in the wilderness ; their being 
unharmed amidst the evils of Egypt ; their light amidst 
the darkness ; the rod of Moses ; the passage of the 
Bed Sea ; the Passover, and going forth at midnight 
in haste, the loins girded, and shoes on their feet, and 
staff in their hand ; all these, and manifold more, are 
lively figures of those who are looking for and hasten- 
ing unto the kingdom of God — they are the very type 
and parable of the Christian Church. Strange, that 
while they were in the Psalms speaking of Israel and 
their deliverance, and especially at the very time of 
keeping the Passover to commemorate that event, they 
were themselves taking the place of Egypt, and ful- 
filling all that is written of Egypt and of Pharaoh. 
It was at the Passover, when our Lord, as on this day ^ 
beheld Jerusalem and wept over it, because the time of 
their visitation was passed, and the things that belonged 
unto their peace were hidden from their eyes. They 

' Preached <» Palm Sanday. 


bad taken tbe place of the enemy of G-od, and that 
under great aggravations, but they knew it not. From 
this instance we see what may be the case with a 
Christian Church or nation, that before they are aware 
of it they may be falling under that delusion and hard- 
ness of heart which we see has taken place in others. 
It wiU not therefore be safe to put away the case from 
ns, but we must consider how far it may describe 
Gbd's dealings with ourselves. 

Bat our object in the history of Pharaoh is as it 
applies and is intended to apply to individuals ; it is 
indeed the counterpart and strong description of those 
that are tried, are borne long with, fall back after 
many relentings and imperfect repentances, and at 
last perish. It holds up to view in a striking historic 
picture what commonly takes place with the human soul, 
as it is expressed in that saying of Solomon : '^ He, 
that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall 
suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy*." 

Now there is signal mercy shown to Pharaoh ; the 
sin of Egypt had come to the full ; the account begins, 
like that of the Jews when Christ was bom, in the 
slaying of infants under a former king ; and under this 
present Pharaoh the same system is carried on by 
oppression and heavy bondage, spoken of as the very 
" furnace " of affliction, " the iron furnace ;" but God 
was long-suffering and gracious to him ; He sent him 
first demands and expostulations, and then warnings ; 
and these signal and repeated, and more and more mani- 
fest and awakening ; and these judgments too with- 
drawn, and then repeated after vain repentings and fresh 
aggravations of sin and cruelty. Now some would sup- 

* Prov. xxix. 1, 



pose that Pharaoh represents the evil spirit; but it is not 
at all so ; it is rather a wicked man, or the world at en- 
mity with God ; this is shown by his many repentings, of 
which there are none with evil spirits. The case may be 
compared with that of Judas ; of him it was distinctly 
foretold that he should do as he did, and come to that 
evil end ; yet nothing can exceed our Lord's continued 
expostulations with him, miracles wrought before him, 
warnings and prophecies. And it is to be noticed that 
in the same place where our Lord speaks of Jerusalem 
as having the things belonging to their peace hidden 
from them, He alludes to His own very earnest deal- 
ings with them in calling them to repentance, " How 
often would I have gathered thy children together as 
a hen gathereth her brood under her wings, but ye 
would not." He had for three years interceded for 
the tree, dug about it, and laboured in vain, before 
His word withered up the barren fig tree. Yet not- 
withstanding it had been written of them long before : 
" Let their eyes be blinded, that they see not," " and 
let them not come into Thy righteousness '." 

But now, what are we to learn from this doctrine, 
that God hardens the heart ? It is very true that man 
hardens his own heart, because Scripture says so ; it 
is also true that God hardens the heart, because 
Scripture says so; yet further, it is true that this 
latter is worthy of much attention, because Scripture 
repeats it often. "With regard to others, this con- 
sideration may teach us patience : with regard to our- 
selves, dependence upon God. Patience to others 
when we cannot amend them ; and dependence on 
God in the keeping of our own heart. It is indeed of 

» Ps. Ixix. 24. 27. 


aD leflflcms in tlie vorid toe s^jSS cot-Iziz ani ecu- 
Btniniiig, the most indneadAl on the hearc. li An 
accident or mnj iU happeiu Xty the body, lo the goods 
or outward circnmaftanccg. the greatest of oomforEs is 
to oonaider that it is God's dixng. to look on it as 
fiia ; in like manner, when we feel or fear hardness^ 
deadneaa, coldness coming orer onr heart, a disinclina- 
tion to religion, to know that God's hand is in it will 
more ns to turn to Him with all fear and reverence, that 
He may remove this plague from us, this '' plague of 
the heart." To feel that we are in His hands for life 
or death, is the most salutary state of mind that a 
helpless creature can have ; to see His hand dealing 
with us in judgment for past sins ; to look to Him to 
lighten our eves, that we sleep not in death. In a 
bodily disease we take all means, we watch, procure 
medical aid, look to food, and the like ; all this is most 
necessary; we do so when the sickness is probably 
even unto death ; but at such season of bodily sickness 
yet more needful is the constant remembrance that 
all is in God*s hand, with Whom are the issues of life 
and death. It is most needful that this should be 
inculcated, impressed, brought home to us on such 
outward trials, for, as the Prophet says, " shall there 
be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it * ?" 
But in the case of the soul, this sense of God is of 
itself restoration and life. "Lord, I am in Thine 
hands.'* "I am undone by Thy just judgment. My 
eyes are blind, so that I cannot see, and that by Thy 
just judgment ; for when I saw, I was as one that saw 
not. My ears are dull of hearing, and that by Thy just 
judgment: my knees are weak, I have no heart to 

1 Amo8 ill. 6. 


kneel, and this bj Thy just judgment. But oh, Thou 
"Who hatest nothing that Thou hast made, do Thou 
create and make in me a new and contrite heart." 
" O Lord, why hast Thou made us to err from Thy 
ways, and hardened our heart from Thy fear '? " Oh, 
what a powerful and pity-constraining prayer is this, 
of all prayers the most appealing to God's compassion ; 
it is like that of David, the most affecting of all in that 
penitential Psalm, " Cast me not away from Thy 
Presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. O 
give me the comfort of Thy help again, and stablish 
me with Thy free Spirit." And a still deeper sound is 
there in that prayer, as of one over whom the pit were 
about to close her mouth, " Out of the deep have I 
called unto Thee, O Lord; Lord, hear my prayer." 

Now such are the wholesome apprehensions which 
may be raised in the heart by a sense of this doc- 
trine, as it respects ourselves ; if this of all punish- 
ments is the greatest, to lose the sense and power of 
good, and if this is God's doing, to whom shall we 
turn, what else shall we do but to turn to Him? 
" Of whom may we seek for succour but of Thee, O 
Lord, "Who for our sins art justly displeased?" Look 
then on your past or present life in this light ; 
you have done this or that sin without remorse, 
though perhaps it once was otherwise, and such things 
would have troubled you : well then, this is hardness 
of heart; but consider it is from God, that it is His 
punishment on you. Or it may be you do not do 
this or that which you might and ought to do, yet 
you are not concerned ; now this unconcern is from 
God, it is a sign of His displeasure. How awful, yet 

> I8a.lxiii.i7. 


how quickening is this reflection, it is always life and 
a sign of life to see and acknowledge God's hand and 
power. You cannot feel, you cannot amend, you 
cannot change. You are bound by a chain — not im- 
posed by another, but by your own iron will. And 
that will is with the enemy of your soul, you 
will what he wills. For from evil will arose evil 
habit, and habit not resisted became necessity, and 
necessity a second nature. You have undone your- 
self. But reflect, the hand of God is also in this ; it 
is He that hath given you over unto death ; and He, 
yea—even He alone can order, even yet, that the 
stone may be removed, and the grave clothes un- 
loosed ; and that your dead and corrupting soul may 
come forth from the grave. The very thought is 
already like the quickening of His Spirit, and the 
hearing of His voice. 

Kow the reason why Pharaoh did not obey the 
commands of God, and was not bettered by His 
miracles, came upon him as a punishment from God ^. 
Why do you not love prayer and the Holy Commu- 
nion ? It is a punishment upon you from God, to 
Him therefore turn that He may make you love what 
is your life. 

The ten plagues of Egypt seem to represent all the 
variety of evils that come on us as warnings from 
God ; from the flies, the little annoyances and petty 
troubles of daUy life, to the diseases of cattle and loss 
of the first-bom, its great calamities and bereave- 
ments; from the thunder and lightning abroad and 
the hail-storm to that which climbs up into our secret 
chambers ; from public judgments to private and do- 

> St. Aug. ill. 262]. 

120 .^HABAOH. 

mestic griefs ; all of every kind are to recall us froni 
sin ; for "trouble springs not out of the ground," it is 
of God. Whether great or small, sudden or conti- 
nuous, abroad or at home, it is of God : thus by little 
and little does He put us in remembrance ; and for 
the most part it may be observed as in these plagues of 
Pharaoh, " Wherewithal a man sinneth, by the same 
also shall he be punished *." With what a multitude 
of troubles like as with the flies of Egypt has your 
life been beset ? this should teach you to remember 
with the good Mary that one thing only is needful. 
Tour alienation from God has often been a " darkness 
that may be felt;" what a motive should there be 
from this judgment to consider the light and health 
which is in the dwellings of the righteous — in the 
heart which is at peace with God. 

And if in the ten plagues are represented all the 
chastisements of God, so in Pharaoh are set forth the 
various shades and changes which there are in im- 
penitence and unbelief. First of all there is rejection 
of God, "Who is the Lord?" and " I know not the 
Lord;" but he is not left, the witness of God is sent 
to tell him who the Lord is. And Moses coming to 
him so often, what is this but the many times in 
which the voice of God meets us ? ten times, that is, 
times out of number. But hardened by judgments, 
hardened by miracles, hardened by mercies, hardened 
by forgivenesses and forbearances of God, he brings 
down upon himself wrath to the uttermost. Pirst of 
all he rejects the knowledge of God, and he is taught 
by miracles who the Lord is : and then when given 
to know Him by His judgments and warnings, he 

* Wisd. xi. 16. 


tries eyerj subterfuge; first esteeming religion as 
idleness and folly: "Te are idle; therefore say ye, 
Let us serve the Lord ;" " Why do ye let the people 
from their works?" then he calls in the magicians, 
he seeks for some false semblance of religion; and 
then he will do any thing short of what God requires ; 
"Te may go, but not your women and children;" or 
again, "Te need not go, ye may sacrifice in the 
land ;" or, " I will let you go, only ye shall not go very 
far away. Intreat for me." Or yet further, "Te 
may indeed depart ;" but then recalling that permis- 
sion. Such is a description of tha world at work in 
the heart ; till he who began by saying, " Who is the 
Lord ? I know Him not," shall know His power in 
His chastisements; shall preach Him to others by 
judgments brought on himself which he knows not in 
a reprobate mind, that prison of darkness in which 
walk the terrors of night, and in which no star is 

Now if the ease were one where there was no 
knowledge of God at all, no warnings, no reproofs, no 
conscience, and appeals to it, then it would not come 
home to us in a manner so marked as this of Fba- 
raoh*s does ; for here is every thing done that can be 
done ; long-suffering, admonitions beforehand, waiting 
long, and again and again bearing and forbearing. 
This it is which most strongly characterizes the cases 
of God's hardening the heart : this it is which renders 
it so awful and impressive. So was it in every case 
where this hardening of God is spoken of; there are 
especial means taken of expostulating, warning, and 
the like. So was it with the old world, when God 
said, " My Spirit shall not alway strive with man." 
So was it with the Heathens whom St. Paul describes, 


he speaks of conscience and the witness of God long 
pleading with them, till he says, " As they did not like 
to retain God in their knowledge God gave them over 
to a reprobate mind* ;" so was it with the sons of Eli, 
of whom it is said, that '' they hearkened not unto 
the voice of their father because the Lord would slay 
them;'* so with Judas Iscariot; so was it with the 
Jews, " Israel would not obey Me, so I gave them up 
unto their own hearts' lusts. ... that My people 
would have hearkened unto Me ; I should soon have 
put down their enemies*." So will it be with the 
falling away of the Church in the last days. So, alas, 
is it with every Christian soul that is lost. It is when 
God has done all, then it is that His taking away His 
Holy Spirit is thus described; like a binding as it 
were of hand and foot. As in the Parable it is said of 
him that had not on the wedding garment — being 
invited, called, admitted, honoured, made partaker of 
the kingdom of grace — " bind him hand and foot," for 
his members belonged to Christ, but have not 
served Him; ''and cast him into outer darkness," 
for being a child of light he hath not walked in the 

* Rom. i. 28. ' Pa. IxXxi. 11—14. 



Ndmbebs xvi. 23, 24. 

" And the Lord spake nnto Moses, saying, Speak unto the con- 
gregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of 
Korah, Dathan, and Abiram." 

The particular characters of these three men, Korah, 
Dathan, and Abiram, are not given in Scripture ; but 
they seem to represent generallj all those 'who rise up 
against the powers ordained of God : Korah the Le« 
vite against Aaron ; Dathan and Abiram of the tribe 
of Seuben against Moses ; but both conspiracies being 
combined together, indicates that it is the same temper 
of mind which rejects the ordinances of God whether 
it be in Church or State. Their signal destruction 
marks the displeasure of God ^ ; it is sudden, extra- 
ordinary, and overwhelming. By the "going down 
alive into the pit," and the " fire coming out from the 
Lord," it bears some resemblance to the end of Anti- 
christ in the Eevelation, where the Beast and the 
false Prophet are both " cast alive into a lake of fire'." 

* See Prov. xxir. 22* * Rev. xix. 20. 


And indeed as Moses and Aaron set forth Christ as 
our Lawgiver and High Priest, their rebellion, though 
thej knew it not, was against the Anointed of God ; 
and so far partakes of Antichrist. Their sin was like 
that of the fallen angels who from envy, it is supposed, 
arose against the Son of Q-od. They were indeed 
strongly supported, they were no mean adventurers, 
but themselves chief men, and with them were " two 
hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in 
the congregation, men of renown:" but the power 
which they would establish was from below ; that of 
Moses and Aaron was from above. It was the setting 
forth of great worldly strength against the ordinance 
of God. The description also is such as may repre- 
sent the Christian people of God, for their words are, 
" Seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of 
them, and the Lord is among them : wherefore lift 
ye up yourselves against the congregation of the 
Lord?*' And Moses says to Korah, " Seemeth it a 
small thing to you, that God hath brought you near 
to Himself?" "and seek ye the Priesthood also?" 
"We may add, " Seemeth it a small thing to have been 
made members of Christ, 'kings and priests unto 
God,' * a royal priesthood ? '" And this reference 
to the Christian Church is confirmed by the Apostle 
St. Jude, who, speaking of some in the latter days, 
says, " Woe unto them, for they have perished in the 
gainsaying of Core;" that is, they take part with 
those who were thus condemned of God. 

But let us consider how far the case is applicable to 
ourselves now ; as it is in some degree peculiar ; for 
Moses and Aaron had their authority all along con- 
firmed of God by outward signs and miracles. Add 
to which that their characters were such as less than 


any other to justify opposition or envy. For Moses 
was the meekest of men ; and Aaron was inoffensive in 
idi his conduct toward them. Their pre-eminence too 
was in hardship and suffering rather than in wealth or 
worldly power : in joumeyings in the wilderness, not 
in the riches of Canaan. But these circumstances do 
not in fact prevent the application to ourselves ; for 
the Pharisees afterwards had no miracles to prove 
their authority from God; and moreover they were 
great oppressors and blind guides, covetous and cruel : 
yet our Lord says of them, "The Scribes and the 
Pharisees sit in Moses' seat : all therefore whatsoever 
they bid you observe, that observe and do' ;" and this 
He says at the very time when He is cautioning His 
disciples against their wickedness. They had to obey 
the ordinance of God, though it had neither outward 
sign nor holiness to support it. And of the Priest- 
hood St. Paul afterwards says, " "No man taketh this 
honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as 
was Aaron*." And if this was the case with the 
rulers of Israel, much more with oiu* Lord's own 
appointed Stewards and Ministers, of whom an early 
Christian writer* says, that they sit in the seat, not 
of Moses but of Christ. And indeed as if to mark 
this more strongly, they were called, not Prophets, 
nor Preachers, but Apostles, " the Sent " of God, the 
Apostolic Church; sent with the words, "He that 
despiseth you despiseth Me, and he that despiseth Me 
despiseth Him that sent Me." 

Nor indeed is the Presence of God denied by the 
company of Korah as being vouchsafed to them under 

» St. Matt xxiii. 2, 3. * Heb. v. 4. 

* Origen. 

126 KOSAH, 3A.TB.JlS, akd abibah. 

the gaidance of Moses and Aaron, they say that " the 
Lord is among them,'* as He was seen in the Pillar of 
Pire and the Cloud, in the Holy Tabernacle, in the 
Manna from Heaven: but what they complained of 
was the want of visible fruits and enjoyments, '' Thou 
hast not brought us into a land that floweth with 
milk and honey;** "Wilt thou put out the eyes of 
these men ? '* as men may say now, " "We see not our 
tokens ;'* where are our spiritual privileges ? where is 
the fulfilment of all the glorious things which the pro- 
phets have spoken of the Christian Church P 

But if this case is of universal application and for 
general warning, then the question will arise, are 
there no allowances, no limitations, to be made ; and 
is there no relief in the case of oppressive Governors 
and bad Pastors ? must all resistance be like that of 
Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, displeasing to Otod ? and 
is it never without sin ? Let us consider this a little 
more particularly. If such powers are of God, then 
He gives such as are suitable to the people over 
whom they are placed; not necessarily such as they 
like, or such as are desirable in themselves, but such 
as are good for them to have, and such as they de- 
serve. For instance, the Eoraan Emperors during the 
early days of Christianity, were many of them mon- 
sters of cruelty and wickedness ; but when we come 
to inquire into the character of the people over whom 
they were placed, we find the corruption of morals so 
deep and extensive, that they were as bad as the 
tyrants that governed them. Such wickedness could 
not exist without much suffering, either among them- 
selves or from another set over them ; it required an 
iron rod, and that the sword should not be borne in 
vain : it was necessary to protect them from one an- 


other. And it was to these Eomans and living under 
some of the worst of these Governors that St. Paul 
says, "Let every one be subject unto the higher 
powers. For there is no power but of God: the 
powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever 
therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance 
of Qod •." And St. Peter unto Christians under the 
same rule, " Submit yourselves to every ordinance of 
man for the Lord's sake : whether it be to the king as 
supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are 
sent by him '." 

Moreover, in consequence of this, we find in Scrip- 
ture that kings andpeople are often together condemned 
and visited alike. Pharaoh and Egypt both together 
oppressed Israel ; both hardened their hearts ; both 
were cut off together. Thus too throughout, both 
Israel and Judah were visited through their kings. 
The sins of Solomon and weakness of Eehoboam rent 
the kingdom in twain ; but the visitation was from 
Qt)d, for Israel valued not the ordinances of David ; 
fiezekiah endeavoured in vain to bring them to re- 
pentance, and then Manasses was sent, who filled 
Jerusalem with blood; the reformation wrought by 
Josiah was found unavailing, as the Prophets testify, 
and then their succeeding kings were the means of 
bringing Babylon upon Jerusalem. When the plague 
came upon David and his people, it might appear from 
one account that God was displeased with David, and 
therefore he was tempted to number the people ; but 
it is also evident that God was displeased with Israel, 
and therefore Satan was allowed to tempt David to 
that numbering. " The anger of the Lord,*' it is said, 

• Rom. xiii. 1,2. M Pet. ii. 13, 14. 


" was kindled against Israel, and He moved David 
against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah ^" 
It was not merely that David sinned, and his people 
suffered ; but that they sinned, and when God would 
punish them, it was through the sin of David that this 
punishment came upon them. Thus then it is with 
evil rulers, they are not guiltless before God, but in 
destroying themselves they serve also as a sword ' or 
scourge in God's hand. Even as do evil spirits. If 
thou sufferest, look for the cause in thyself, not in 
another. Amend thyself, and God will remove what 
thou fearest. Thus governors and those whom they 
govern are bound up together, like parents and children ; 
both suffer together, both for themselves and for each 
other ; both have to intercede for each other ; and to 
amend themselves, looking unto God in patience. 

The same order of Divine Providence applies also to 
spiritual Governors ; it is so with the Church of God 
in all times and places ; the angels of the Churches, 
and the Churches themselves are tended on, and in 
each case addressed together as one by their Lord, 
"Who has the seven stars in His hand, while He walks 
in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. "We 
only need to look a little more home to ourselves, to 
see the application of this law. It is now universally 
seen and acknowledged, that the Pastors of the Church 
in this country, of all degrees from the highest to the 
lowest, have been very negligent of the sacred charge 
committed to them ; something like an extraordinary 
sleep seems to have been over them for about 150 
years ; so much so, that the country has sent forth 
her children to people new worlds, with no thought of 

• 2 Siim. xxiv. 1. » Ps. xvii. 13. 


Bapplying them with the means of grace ; has possessed 
hendf of Tast heathen countries, with no attempt on 
the part of the Church and nation at large to make 
them Christians ; no Bishop, no blessings of the Church ; 
and at home a vast population increasing, and whole 
towns grown up, with apparently no thought of any 
spiritual care for them ; but all this while the laity 
have not perceiyed it, because they have been no better 
themselyes. The same dark cloud of forgetfulness 
ooYered both Priest and people alike. 

We may therefore, I say, consider it as a general 
law of God*s Proridence, that their rulers both 
spiritual and temporal will be such as the people are 
worthy of; that if they need better rulers, the only 
way in which this can be produced, efficiently and 
effectiyely, is by becoming better themselves. As it is 
contained in that saying of the Wise Man, *' What 
manner of man the ruler of the city is, such are all 
they that dwell therein.*' " The power of the earth is 
in the hand of the Lord, and in due time He will set 
over it one that is profitable *^.'* Now man cannot 
overturn this rule of God's law ; he may change his 
rulers as he will ; he may, as if he were in the place of 
Qod, " put down one, and set up another," and thus, 
by want of submission, the matter may be made 
worse ; as doubtless it always will be by sin ; but it 
cannot be amended, except by obedience, by man's own 
obedience to God ; which obedience must be in the 
keeping of His ordinances and laws. " In due time," 
says the son of Sirach, " He will set over it one that 
is profitable ;" but it is " in due time ;" like all other 
Providences of God, it requires waiting on the part ot 

i« EccluB. X. 2. 4. 


man. " Commit thy way unto the Lord, and He shall 
bring it to pass." And as the Apostle adds in his 
injunctions of obedience, "Wilt thou then not be 
afraid of the power ? do that which is good." " Fop 
be is the minister of God to thee for good '." 

How did David suffer from Saul, yet all the while 
patiently wait upon God for his deliverance, and would 
not lift up his hand against the Lord's anointed ; the 
life of Saul was precious in his eyes, in order that his 
own life might be precious in the eyes of God '. 

But a case of doubt and diflBculty which may arise 
is this, if a signal repentance and renovation should 
take place among the people, the spirit of grace and 
supplication should be poured out upon them, and there 
should be a general awakening ; then the deficiency of 
their pastors and rulers will come before them in a 
striking light ; and then will be their great temptation 
to take the amendment of such things intp their own 
hands. But yet not well nor wisely. Surely no refor- 
mation can be equal to that which took place suddenly 
and simultaneously, when the disciples of Christ were 
yet under the Scribes and Pharisees, yet He said, as 
they sat in Moses's seat they must be obeyed. Or again, 
when the Apostles wrote to Christians, that they must 
submit themselves to the powers that be, while those 
powers were the most corrupt of heathen governments. 
It is true that the change had not then become 
extensive, or leavened the general state of society, but 
the law of God's Providence was the same, for it was 
the gradual progress of that change which would bring 
over them in God's own good time their own true 
Governors, such as were meet for them. And in the 

1 Rum. xiii. 3, 4. '1 Sam. xxvi. 24. 


meanwhile those evil rulers formed a part of that 
discipline of £uth by which they were perfected and 
established, being puri6ed thereby as gold in the fire. 

Moreover, it is observed, that the Church of God 
has flourished more under Heathen than under its 
ovm Christian rulers. This consideration may allay 
our impatience ; we are at best so weak and frail, that 
we need the iron rod more than the golden sceptre ; 
in our present state the Cross is more suited for us 
than the crown. In prosperity we lean on an arm of 
flesh, and are weakened; in adversity we lean on 
Gk>d, and are strengthened. 

But then it may be said that there is a case far more 
grievous than this, that of evil ministers in the Church 
itself, whether it be of Chief Pastors, or of those in 
their own nearer and subordinate sphere. These are 
triak peculiarly heavy to a good man ; and there are 
some cases which can only be considered as severe 
visitations of God, and the scourge of sin. But if 
Gt>d does not afford the power of remedying this great 
evil, then the same law of patience must be applied. 
In one ruler or pastor you may read God's wrath, in 
another His love. *You cannot reject either; take 
His wrath in meekness, and He may show jou His 
love. And in the meanwhile, with regard to any par- 
ticular case of great trial, we must practise forbear- 
ance, and God will remember us in His own good 
time. The case may be one peculiarly severe, and the 
heart will often say, "How long?" Lord! how 
long ? Am I always to forbear P But remember how 
long our Lord bore patiently, yea, and even lovingly 
too, even to the last with the false Apostle, Judas 
Iscariot — and who art thou that dost complain ? 

It will be often asked, but are there no excepted 
K 2 


cases to this rule of submission ? Some indeed will 
always make an exception in their own case, for 
"rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft." But Holy 
Scripture is all on the other side; it says, "submit 
yourselves;" "be patient, brethren;" forbear — wait 
upon God ; " let patience have her perfect work ;" 
" a meek and quiet spirit is in the sight of God of 
great price." What if in reward for your patience 
God Himself should come near to you, should Him- 
self, in the failure of outward ordinances, " raise up 
His power, and come among us, and with great might 
succour us," being Himself the rest of the meek 

This duty of meekness and patience applies to a case 
80 far as it is one we cannot remedy, like any evil or 
scourge that comes to us from God's hand, we must take 
it as our punishment from Him. But then it may be 
said, when the case is one that implies grievous sin, 
an example which dishonours God, corrupts Christ's 
little ones, and poisons the fount of life, are we to 
acquiesce in this ? Does not the love of God constrain 
us not to resign ourselves to such evil— to lift up our 
voice and cry — to move Heaven and earth ? 

This is most true: for surely there is a remedy 
with God. "When He has forbidden one way of 
redress. He has pointed out another and a better. 
For redress is required ; it is urgent, it is demanded 
of us ; the burden is intolerable, it is one that ought 
not to be endured, for it presses on our spiritual life, 
on the means of our union with God. And this brings 
us to the one practical point of the very greatest 
urgency and need, most pressing on ourselves at this 
time, more so than any thing else in the world can be, 
Firat of all, that our Pastors may be multiplied, and 


next that they may be sanctified, whether Bishops or 
other Parochial Pastors. Our Lord has pointed out 
the one and only way, and that is the way of Prayer. 
He did not eren Himself send forth Apostles without 
it. '' When He saw the multitudes, He w^as moved 
with compassion on them, because they fainted, and 
were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 
Then saith He unto His disciples. Pray ye the Lord 
of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into 
His harvest '." He prayed Himself on this occasion, 
before He chose His Twelve Apostles, and continued, 
it is said, the whole night in prayer *, So urgent was 
the need. But He also on this point required their 
prayers in conjunction with His own, " Pray ye, and 
He will send." It depended then on themselves ; 
and therefore our not having Bishops so many as we 
need, or not having them to our mind, or we may say 
to the mind of Christ, is a sin. Por it is certain from 
our Lord's words, ** Ask, and ye shall have,** that if we 
have not, it is because we have not asked. Try this 
remedy first, and you will need no other until God wills. 
It is a remedy which will make our own hearts most meet 
to receive such a blessing from God. It may be that 
we are not yet meet, but that if we pray we shall be ; it 
may be that God is waiting to be thus gracious with 
us, when we show that we have faith to profit by His 
gift. It may be as with Cornelius and the first 
sending of Apostles to the Gentiles ; the spirit of 
prayer and almsdeeds prepared Cornelius for the gift ; 
and St. Peter at the same time was by prayer prepared 
for conveying it. Nothing is so marked in all the 

* St. Matt. ix. 36. 38. * St. Luke vi. 12. 


Oospels, as that lesson of God waiting until man asks. 
Christ more than willing to give — but not giving unless 
importuned in faith — but passing by. Thus it is 
doubtless the case that the remedy is in our own hands 
— not without God, not against God, as in the gain- 
saying of Core, but with God ; it is in our power to 
move God. If we are importunate. He will rise and 
give us all that we need. It is indeed most needful — 
the salvation of many depends upon it. 

Many are cast down because the Church is in bonds. 
It can neither appoint for itself suitable Pastors, nor 
set aside evil Ministers, nor manage its own affairs, 
and the government of it is falling into the hands of 
its enemies. But these are not the great evils to be 
feared ; the one great cause for apprehension is this, 
whether in the body of the Church at large the spirit of 
prayer is sufficiently strong to cast off all these impedi- 
ments ; for where prayer is, all such evils from without 
are thrown off, even as in the spring of the year nature 
throws off all the chains of winter. The imprisoned 
eagle may even yet soar aloft, and unfold her wing in 
the free expanse of Heaven. 

When the plague had broke forth on the company of 
Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, it was not stayed by human 
means, nor by God Himself without human means, but 
by Aaron hastening to stand with the incense between 
the dead and the living ; what is meant by this, but 
our great High Priest offering up His own prayers 
and the prayers of His saints. 

I have to add one more reflection— the Parable of the 
importunate Widow, " That men ought always to pray, 
and not to faint," seems to have an especial reference 
to the widowed Church in the last days, '' when tho 


Son of Man cometh ;" where speaking of " His elect 
which cry day and night unto Him," with the assur- 
ance that "He will speedily avenge" their cause, 
oar Lord alludes to the faith of His Church failing in 
that importunity of prayer. But His promise to her 
still remains the same, that she cannot pray to Him 
in Yain« If she has not, it is because she prays not. 



NuMBEBS xxiii. 10. 

*' Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be 
like his !" 

Thesis words are familiar to us ; they express a desire 
so holy, that it must often come home to the heart, 
and may well be lodged deeply in the minds of us all. 
They were spoken by the Prophet Balaam. Nor does 
it appear to be an exclamation that he made once for 
all, under a strong impulse or Divine inspiration, but 
we find in him throughout sentiments of the same 
character, worthy of a Prophet so esteemed. His 
answer to the princes, on the second time of their 
coming, was, " If Balak would give me his house full of 
silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the 
Lord my God, to do less or more." "What could better 
express a firm determination to do right P And on 
both occasions he would give no answer at all without 
first consulting God. And when he came to Balak, 
the king of Moab, how must all have been struck with 
the holiness of the Prophet, so entirely was he not his 
own, but under the hand of God. *' Lo, I am come 

BALAAM. 187 

unto thee : hare I now any power at all to say any 
thing? the word that Ood putteth in my mouth, 
that shall I speak." What more could any of us 
aspire to than this? "If any man speak, let him 
speak as the oracles of Ood," not his own words, but 
the words of God. And what words did he speak ! 
what beauty and holiness is there in them ! There is 
scarcely any thing to surpass them in aU the Prophets 
of Israel. How does he describe the people of God ? 
their goodliness and order as fairer than all things 
among men, " as gardens by the river's side, as the 
lign aloes which the Lord hath planted ;" the invinci- 
ble power that is in them, and the happiness m death 
of those whose strength is in the everlasting God. 
But this is not aD, for it is given him to see the Savi- 
our of the world, in Whom is aD the might and glory 
of His people. " I shall see Him, but not now. . . . 
There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre 
shall rise out of Israel." So holy indeed were the 
sentiments expressed by him, that the Prophet Micah 
says, ''Bemember now what Balak, King of Moab, 
consulted, and what Balaam, the son of Beor, answered. 
That ye may know the righteousness of the Lord \" 
And what is this righteousness P It is, as the same 
Prophet goes on to explain, that which is truly good, 
that the essence of religion consists not in costly burnt 
offerings and sacrifices, but " in doing justly, and loving 
mercy, and walking humbly with God." 

The expression then of the text, with its devout 
aspiration, was not a mere passing wish, but one 
that might characterize much of the life and the say- 
ings of Balaam. Great was his knowledge and keen 

* Mic. vi. 5. 8. 

188 BALAAM. 

his sense of what was holy and good. His expressions 
to God, and to the Angel that met him by the way are 
almost like that of St. Paul, "Lord, w^hat wouldst 
Thou have me to do ?" I am ready to go or to turn 
back at Thy word. And yet, Oh ! the appalling per- 
verseness of the human heart, this was all the while a 
bad man, self-deceiving, self-deceived, who lived and 
died in great wickedness ! So that his good words on 
the high places seem like those of evil spirits, who 
confessed Christ as the Holy One of God, and Son of 
the Most High, when there was scarce a man on earth 
who could have made such a declaration. For Balaam 
is referred to through the New Testament as the 
wicked Prophet, "who loved the wages of unrighteous- 
ness." He knew what was holy and good, and it may 
be that he loved it also, but he loved riches more ; his 
knowledge was with God, his will was with Satan. 

And now let us follow the course of his double 
mind, and the ways of God's dealings with him. 
When the messengers first came he asked of God, and 
was told, " Thou shalt not go," " thou shalt not curse 
the people, for they are blessed." But the second 
time, when he makes that strong protestation, if Balak 
should give him his house full of silver and gold, his 
heart was already beginning to give way ; and if when 
he went again to ask of God, he had put his real 
thoughts into words, it would have been this, " though 
the people, as Thou hast said, are blessed, yet more 
honourable princes and greater rewards make me de- 
sirous to comply with their wish, that I may gain for my- 
self both profit and honour." His hesitating, his wish- 
ing to ask God at all a second time was a sin. It was 
like the Prophet of Judah listening to the old Prophet 
of Samaria, who professed to bring another message 

BALAAM. 189 

from God. Second thoughts are often from the world, 
while the first are from God. But although God is 
displeased with him, yet He appears to go with him, and 
to allow him to proceed in the crooked ways of his 
GOTetousness. This is what we see in the ways of 
God's Providence. It is not unusual with God to 
gnuit, not only the desires of an holy and upright 
mind, but also our desires for inferior things, when 
the heart is set upon them in preference to Himself. 
For instance, a man is on his guard against the 
dangers of wealth and station ; but by degrees he 
thinks whether he cannot obtain them lawfully, and 
by and by he is engaged in the pursuit, and in such a 
case God gives the man usually that for which he 
eraTes. He seeks, he obtains ; God seems to say. Go 
on. There is no greater danger than for God to 
answer a man according to the desires of his own 
heart ; and therefore Job says, " If thou prepare thine 
heart, and stretch out thine hands towards Him ; if 
iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away *." And in 
Ezekiel God says, if a man comes to inquire of Him 
with idols in his heart, and setting the stumbling- 
block of his iniquity before his face. He will answer 
him according to his idols, he will be taken in his own 
heart. " If that prophet be deceived," it is added in 
very remarkable words, "I the Lord have deceived 
him, and I will punish him'." 

But yet in this case God does not give us up alto- 
gether. As when Israel asked for a king, He gave 
indeed what they desired — but He expostulated. He 
warned. He sent them a token of His displeasure. So 
will He show us by His Providence that He is dis- 

« Job xi. 14. « Ezek. xiv. 4, 6. 9. 

140 BALAAM* 

plea49ed with us ; in the way that we go, His angel 
with the sword in his hand will meet us, i.e. some 
calamity, some accident, some grief, is sure to cross 
our way to remind us from God that the way that we 
are going is not the way of holiness or of peace. And 
these are all calls from God, not at all the less so because 
when a man's eyes are blinded with worldly business 
and covetousness, he does not see them to be such. 
Balaam did not perceive the Angel, but the ass did ; 
i.e. for the dullest natures in the world will see that 
God is in such visitations, in such impediments, as rise 
up before us, and stand in the way of temptation and 
sin ; all will see except he who is blinded by his own 
mind, that it is God Himself "Who says thereby, " I 
went out to withstand thee, because thy way is per- 
verse before Me." And then for awhile he humbles 
himself, and offers to turn back ; in the moment of 
alarm, from the depth of the heart, conscience will 
speak the truth, and he says, " I have sinned ;" he 
knows it, though he is as if he knew it not. But he 
has leave still to proceed, as if in His dealings with us 
God still said, " Go on in the way your heart has 
chosen of riches and honour, but yet keep yourself 
therein from sin ;" this is the way of Providence with 
mankind. The man proceeds, and says to himself, " I 
will be rich, but I will not sin against God ;*' and it is 
possible with God*s grace that he might do so. 

God is displeased because we love Him not as we 
should do ; but still in His mercy He is ready to try 
us still in a second and inferior course. He lets us 
know that He is grieved, yet He bids us go on, as 
ready even again to accept us. As Samuel said unto 
the people, " Fear not ; ye have done all this wicked- 
ness : yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but 

BALAAM. 141 

•erre the Lord with all your heart, and turn je not 
aside*." And thus it is possible that the Prophet 
e?en now might have proceeded without actual sin ; 
it was, he might have thought, a great opportunity for 
good ; he might speak the words of Ood, and bless them 
whom He would bless ; he might be a witness of Gk>d. 
But in all this there was One Who knew him better 
than he knew his own heart, which was hiding its own 
wickedness from itself. He wished to proceed toge- 
ther with Gtod and Mammon ; God on his lips, and 
Mammon in his heart. When he went to ask of Ood, 
there was one prayer which he could not have made, 
and that is, " Lead us not into temptation ;" when a 
person puts himself in the way of temptation, he is 
already more than half gone, and in the toils of Satan. 
And when he allows such desires to mix with his 
prayers, he pollutes the very fountain of his life. 
" Come not to the Lord," says the Wise Man, " with a 
double heart '." And One far greater says, " If thine 
eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light ;" 
it is the double eye that makes the heart "full of 
darkness," and Oh, " how great is that darkness ! " It 
is for this reason that the Prophet says, " The heart is 
deceitM above all things, and desperately wicked*." 

And now he has come to the high places, and seeks 
for enchantments in vain ; and Oh, how eloquent is he 
on the beauty of holiness, on the strength of Gtod and 
His people ! yet all the while his heart is set on the 
reward, and he is secretly devising to keep God's in- 
junctions and yet obtain his purpose with Balak. As 
Easekiel says of the Jews, ''with their mouth they 

* 1 Sam. xii. 20. » Ecclus. i 28. 

• Jer. xviL 9. 

142 BALAAM. 

show much love, but their heart goeth after their 
covetousness. And lo, thou art uato them as a very 
lovely soDg of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can 
play well on an instrument : they hear, but they do ' 
not '." After this his description of the goodly tents, 
of the blessedness of the death of the righteous, of the 
Star out of Jacob, after he had said that God had not 
*' beheld iniquity in Jacob, nor seen perverseness in 
Israel," and that therefore '^his Lord God is with 
him," in the next chapter we read of the wrath of 
God having broken forth against His people, the 
plague among them, and a very great slaughter, on 
account of the Midianitish women : and a little fur- 
ther we find that all this was occasioned by the advice 
of this wicked Prophet Balaam. For knowing that 
nothing could overcome the children of Israel while 
faithful to their God, that there was "no enchant- 
ment against Jacob," instead of openly cursing them, 
he advises Baiak to corrupt them by fornication and 
idolatry, in order that thus God might go from them 
and they might lose their great strength. " These," 
Midianitish women, it is said " caused the children of 
Israel through the counsel of Balaam to commit tres- 
pass against the Lord^." It is almost impossible to 
conceive wickedness greater than this ; it is being one 
with Satan, to cause God's people to sin in order that 
God might leave them and they be destroyed, and all 
this merely from his own avarice. 

But we are not to suppose that Balaam now threw 
off the mask and became openly a bad man ; it would 
appear that he still kept up his self-deceit and dis- 
simulation; as if what he was doing was but lawful 

' Ezek. xxxiii. 31, 32. * Numb. xxxi. 16. 

BALAAM. 143 

and right ; bo that he not only led them into practices 
of sin, but corrupted and perverted their principles 
alsOy persuading them that they might thus hold >vith 
Gk>d and jet with sin and the flesh. Thus he came, 
like others after, *' with all deceivableness of unright- 
eousness in them that perish." For he is spoken of 
as having doctrines of wickedness. Thus Christ says 
in the Bevelation to the Church in Pergamos " where 
Satan dwelleth," "Thou hast there them that hold 
the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a 
stomblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat 
things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication'." 
And St. Peter describing those who have " gone astray, 
following the way of Balaam," speaks of them as 
" sporting with their own deceivings," " having eyes 
fiill of adultery," and " an heart exercised with cove- 
tous practices," " beguiling unstable souls." 

But to return to the text : did Balaam after all die 
the death of the righteous P No, death overtook him 
in the midst of these evil courses. For thinking that 
Gk)d's strength had now left His people, whom he 
himself had succeeded in corrupting, he proceeds 
together with Balak to fight against them ; but in the 
meanwhile Gt)d had returned to Israel, having by the 
plague and the sword cut off the evil, and made an 
atonement for them, remembering His mercies in 
Christ ; and thus Balaam, like Satan, was overreached 
by God*s love to those that are in Christ. And now 
the same chapter that reveals the wickedness of Ba- 
laam mentions also his death : " They slew the kings 
of Midian," it is said, " Balaam also the son of Beor 
they slew with the sword*." ""With the sword!" 
thus was the vision of the angel fulfilled, sent to warn 

* Rev. iL 14. 1 Numb. xxxi. & IG, 

144 BALAAM. 

him with the drawn sword: so wonderfully in that 
warning was there contained a mysterious intimation 
of his end. 

Now what are we to think of such a wonderful his- 
tory and character as this ? Is it one that stands alone — 
out of the ordinary course of men in their ways ? or is 
it a case that is not uncommon P It is to he feared that 
there is great danger of something of the kind wherever 
the knowledge of God is. This self-deceit, or danger of 
a douhle heart, is often alluded to in sayings and single 
expressions throughout the Scriptures ; hut here it is 
put forth at length in a narrative so striking, that it 
cannot hut arrest the attention of all thoughtful per- 
sons. There are, no doubt, cases of the kind around 
us, those whose heart and life, if the veil were stripped 
aside by the all-knowing Searcher of hearts, would 
show a career no less awful and remarkable than this 
of the Prophet Balaam ; but it is not my purpose to 
dwell on such, God only knows them ; but rather on 
thi8,7-the instances of the same sort of self-deceit 
which any one of us by the aid of God's Holy Spirit, 
and a watchful desire to know his own heart, may 
detect in ourselves. It came forth so strongly when 
our Lord was upon earth, that those He most de- 
nounced, we may observe. He called "hypocrites." 
In the light of His Presence, in the holiness of God, 
it was this more than any thing else that appeared in 
its true colours — "hypocrisy,** i.e. self-deceit : it con- 
sisted in eyes blinded and a heart darkened by the 
love of sin ; it was found in the most holy places ; it 
stood in the temple in the most honoured place there ; 
it sat highest in the synagogues, and had the first 
room in assemblies ; it was very particular in keeping 
the Sabbath, but without mercy and the love of God ; 
it was very religious m outward washings^ but passed 

BALAAM. 145 

oyer that saying of the Psalmist, " I will wash my 
bands in innocency, and so will I go to thine altar:" 
it made long prayers^ without drawing near to God 
with the heart ; it went up to the Passover before the 
time in order to be purified, and to keep it aright, 
while the thoughts were wholly occupied in a deter- 
mination to shed innocent blood : it was so full of a 
scrupulous conscience, that it would on no account 
enter into the judgment-hall of the Gentile lest it 
should be defiled ; but without scruple or hesitation 
they could at the same time urge on people and a 
heathen governor, from envy and hatred of goodness, 
to crucify One they knew to be Innocent, the Holy 
One, the Lamb of God ; and exult over His sufferings 
in death. Now that hypocrisy which came forth so 
strongly in Christ's Presence, and was so marked by 
Him, we may conclude is not uncommon in all gene- 
rations. His own disciples were the most simple- 
minded of men, but He says to them, '^ Take heed of 
the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy." 

Perhaps we may conclude from Scripture, that this 
self-deceit goes with covetousness more than with any 
other crime ; thus we find that Judas Iscariot, though 
so very wicked a man, deceived others so thoroughly, 
that no suspicion against him ever rose in the minds 
of the disciples with whom he was in the closest inter- 
course ; he was probably deceiving himself as well as 
them ; and this we find was the case with those Pha- 
risees whose wickedness was so very great ; they were 
as whited sepulchres, beautiful without, much esteemed 
for holiness and wisdom, deceiving themselves as well 
as others in a great degree ; their blindness of heart 
was owing to covetousness and ambition. And hence 
we may observe that the deceivableness of riches is so 

146 BALAAM. 

much spoken of; the necessity of an undirided heart 
in approaching to God: we are warned against at- 
tempting to serve both Qod and mammon. Thus to 
take a better instance of this kind, in that Bich Young 
Man who came running and kneeling to Christ ; what 
could be more holy than his wish to know what he 
might do to attain eternal life ? it was like the desire 
of Balaam, that he might die the death of the right- 
eous ; but he knew not himself^ till the great Searcher 
of hearts made it known to him — that there was some- 
thing in his heart which he loved more than eternal 
life with Ood ; and that was this present life and its 

Oh, that we might with all sincerity come to God 
with that prayer, "Try me, O Gk)d, and seek the 
ground of my heart; prove me, and examine my 
thoughts. Look well if there be any way of wicked- 
ness in me ; and lead me in the way everlasting '." 
Oh, that we might consider before it be too late, His 
saying to us so often, in Scripture, in His Providence, 
by His Spirit, " Keep thy heart with all diligence ; for 
out of it are the issues of life *." 

There must always be much reason to fear some- 
thing of this self-deceit where persons have such holy 
services and prayers as we have, as in the Psalms and 
Collects of the Church, and especially in the Lord's 
Prayer: to use such prayers we ought to be very 
good ; and if we do not endeavour to be so there 
must be something of this insincerity. The danger 
besets us from our very childhood : children are taught 
to use holy prayers; but if their conduct is not 
watched by others and by themselves, they will come 

' ?■• oxxxix. 23, 24. * Prov. iv. 23. 

BALAAM. 147 

to "use yam repetitions," by not attempting to do 
what they pray for ; and thus they will get into a 
habit of coming before God without singleness of 
mind. There are, again, some whose worldly interest 
and credit it is to appear good, as it was with Balaam, 
with Judaa Iscariot, with the Scribes and Pharisees ; 
it is so with all in some degree in a Christian country ; 
this makes it necessary to be very strict with the 
thoughts and intentions ; to bring before us continually 
the eye of God and the eternal Judgment. 

Balaam was deceiving himself, but when he saw the 
Bword in the angel's hand, his heart told him aright, 
'' I have sinned ;" and when at his death he saw, as it 
were, at the last the angel and the sword, if there had 
been time, his heart might again have said, " I have 
Binned." My brethren, the hour is fast approaching 
upon us all, when the veil shall drop from the eyes, 
and every one shall know his own heart : it will be at 
the sight of the Judgment, and of the angels, and of the 
BWord that shall cut asunder the hypocrite*: then the 
self-deceiving soul will know itself and say, '' I have 
sinned ;" " I will turn back ;" but no, it is too late, 
there is now no turning back. 

« St. Matt xxiy. 51. 

L 2 



Deut. xxxi. 23. 

** And he gare Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, Be 
strong and of a good courage : for thou shalt bring the children 
of Israel into the land which I sware unto them : and I will be 
with thee.'* 

Joshua is represented to us as a warrior, one might 
say as nothing else ; other soldiers in Scripture have 
strongly marked characters of their own, as David, as 
the Centurion in the Gospels, and Cornelius in the 
Acts. But in Joshua the character of the man is 
lost in the soldier. It is remarkable how repeatedly 
it is said to him, " Be strong and of a good courage." 
" Only be thou strong and very courageous ; be not 
afraid.'* He was called upon for this courage ; it was 
fulfilled in all his life ; and at his death he gives the 
like injunction, saying to Israel, ''Be ye therefore 
very courageous*." 

But this in Joshua was a sacred courage, not that 
of the world, but of God ; it was founded on faith. 

1 Josh. xxiiL 6. 

JOSHUA. 149 

He was called upon to execute the purposes of God, 
and the call was ever accompanied with the promise, 
" I will be with thee ;" and in that promise he trusted. 
It was always kept in view that his power was not in 
himself but of GtoA ; as when he overcame Amalek, by 
Moses interceding on the Mount * ; by the angel meet- 
ing him when he entered Canaan, as *' the Captain of 
the Lord's host ;" by the Sun and Moon obeying his 
voice ; by the hailstones from Heaven, and the hornets 
on earth ^ And when it is said indeed that he was also 
" full of the spirit of wisdom," yet the reason is added, 
because Moses had laid his hands upon him * as the 
leader of his people. 

Now the Church teaches us by her appointed 
lessons for this season, that Joshua's taking possession 
of the land of Canaan is the figure of our entering 
into the promised kingdom on the descent of the 
Holy Ghost. And we may observe that this character 
of Joshua had a sort of fulfilment at the Day of Pen- 
tecost, in the great "boldness of Peter and John," 
at which, it is said, the Jews " marvelled * ;" and in 
St. Stephen, and in St. Paul afterwards. 

But the courage of Joshua speaks of something far 
more deep and extensive than this; as the Apostle 
in explaining Joshua and Canaan as the true rest 
to be found in Christ, adds, "Let us therefore 
come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may 
obtain mercy, and find grace to help *." 

It is not then of boldness in battle that God would 
teach us by Joshua, but it is altogether a figure of 
something else, of a brave courage in Christ ; for " we 

* Exod. xvii. » Josh. v. 13 ; x. 11. 13 ; xxiv. 12. 

* Deut. xxxiv. 9. » Acts iv. 13. • Heb. iv. 16. 

150 JOSHUA. 

wrestle not against flesh and blood,'' but against 
spiritual powers; our weapons are not carnal, but 
mighty through God; our armour "on the right 
hand and on the left," is the gifb of grace. The 
Captain to whom we look hath the sword proceeding 
out of His mouth, and " a vesture dipped in blood ;" 
but the armies that follow on white horses have no 
armour but the " righteousness of Saints," " clothed 
in fine linen, white and clean '." " Not by might nor 
by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts *." 
At the note of the true Sabbath of God, — the trumpet 
sound of the unarmed multitude of God — fall down 
all the walls of the enemy. And who is she that 
cometh forth from the accursed and doomed city, but 
the mother of the true Joshua, who " in righteousness 
doth make war," even the harlot Eahab, rich in faith, 
with the scarlet token of Him who is known as " red 
in His apparel," as "Mighty to save'." "Gather 
together unto Me those that have made a covenant 
with Me with sacrifice." He goeth forth with the 
bow and the crown, "conquering and to conquer," 
for the destruction not of Jericho, but of that Jeru- 
salem which slew His Apostles and Prophets, and is 
now in bondage with her children ; but she that is set 
free is of the " Jerusalem which is above, the mother 
of us all." His army is clothed in righteousness, for 
the warfare in which we are engaged is one in which 
men are overcome, not by the sword of the enemy, 
but by the accursed thing hid in the tent, the forbid- 
den treasure, the secret thing against God. In this 
war the powers of Heaven take part and fight for us ; 

f Rev. xix. 14, 16. " Zech. iv. 6. 

> Isa. Ixiii. 1; Rev. xix. 13. 

JOSHUA. 151 

for there ie " war in Heaven," and we partake in that 
war and victory, for we are with Michael, i. e. ** Who 
is as 6odP" Such is our Joshua, who hath taken 
upon Him not the nature of angels, but the seed of 

But as for all warfare the requisite is courage, so 
Joshua represents in particular that courage of heart 
which is a great ingredient in the ''faith that over- 
cometh the world," and in that " perfect love " which 
^' casteth out fear." Hence it is that Christian faith 
is so often throughout the Scriptures, and especially in 
the Psalms, armed with sword and shield, and clothed 
in circumstance of war, and speaks in terms of battle 
and victory. Such courage was the peculiar gifb of 
the early Church, which is the going forth of the true 
Joshua ; courage to give away all ; courage to rejoice 
in tribulation ; courage to take Christ at His word ; 
and therefore it went forth on the white horse tri- 
umphant ; courageous to trust, and in that trust 
mighty to conquer. Whereas that "faintness" of 
heart foretold of the Jew * is fulfilled in the weak 
Christian of the latter days, little of mind. In this 
warfare woe to the " fearful," for he shall have his 
lot with the unbelieving'. Woe to him that saith, 
''There is no hope;" to the faint-hearted who hath 
"lost patience:" " to the sinner that goeth two 
ways :" to him that is " afraid of a man that shall 
die, and forgetteth the Lord his Maker*." 

Such then is to us the history and character of 
Joshua. It signifies that we who are entered into 
the privileges of the Gospel, must overcome every 

> Lev. xxvi. 36. « Rev. xxi. 8. 

* Isa. li. 12. 

152 JOSHUA. 

enemy to our full possession, every sin, every tempta- 
tion; that we are in Christ called to this end: we 
are taught by Joshua of the necessity of faith in 
the eternal inheritance G-od has promised ; in our 
power of obtaining it; in 6od*s assurance that He 
will be with us ; in sparing no hindrance to our rest 
in that kingdom ; in allowing no bosom sin to escape 
and live. " The Lord your (Jod," says Joshua, " is He 
that fighteth for you as He hath promised you. Take 
heed therefore to yourselves that ye love the Lord 
your God*." This is the standing still of the Sun 
and Moon : of strong walls falling down by miracle ; 
of removing mountains. The history of Joshua sets 
before us that one great lesson of the Gospels, viz. 
the power we have in Christ by faith. " All things 
are possible to him that believeth." 

To enforce this the more he be$irs the very name 
of God our Saviour ; the type of Christ, not in His 
Priesthood as Melchizedek ; not in His kingdom as 
David; not in dying as Abel; not as the history 
of Joseph ; or as the character of Moses ; not in His 
death-passion as Hezekiah; not in life-long sorrows 
as Jeremiah ; but in Joshua it is of victory. As our 
Lord Himself says, " Be of good cheer, I have over- 
come the world." And as St. John testifies to the 
same, " Who is he that overcometh the world but he 
that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God ^." And 
St. Paul, " I can do all things through Christ that 
strengtheneth me." 

Now we observed that the characteristic of Joshua 
is a soldier's courage ; other qualities are lost in this ; 
his character is in a manner colourless, like the form 

^ Josh, xxiii. 10, U. ' St. Juhn v. d. 

josHrA. 153 

of a statue rather than of a painting ; like one sent 
from God, and bearing the name of God. " Behold, I 
send an angel before thee," says God, " to bring thee 
into the place which I have prepared. Beware of 
him; — for My name is in him*." Who is this 
angel, says Sb. Augustine, in whom the name of 
God is but Joshua'; that is, "the true Jesus, the 
ruler and guide of His people into the inheritance of 
eternal life ? " For it is not, he says, from the begin- 
ning of his life, but from this the change of his name 
that he becomes the leader of God's people. 

The true Sabbath, the true Canaan, the true Joshua 
are, says the Epistle to the Hebrews, with us. We 
may observe that Joshua was with Moses in the 
Mount ", and Christ was in the Law, but Moses de- 
parted and Joshua remained ; the Law departed, but 
"grace and truth came by Jesus Christ'." Jesus 
remains. On the Mount of Transfiguration, when the 
kingdom of the regeneration had come, Peter would have 
made three tabernacles, one for Moses, and one for Elias, 
and one for Christ ; but Moses and Elias, though they 
partook for a while of His glory, had gone, and when 
they looked around there was " no man, save Jesus 
only," and the voice from Heaven said, " Hear ye Him." 
Moses and Elias, the Law and the Prophets, bear witness 
to Him, and in so doing partake of His glory ; but they 
depart and He remains. It is Jesus clothed with 
the glory of the Besurrection ready to lead us in 
alone. The Eather bears witness to Him in the 
Voice, and the Spirit also in the Cloud, and then they 

• Exod. xxiii. 20, 21. ^ St. Aug. viii. 471. 

• Exod. xxiv. 13. » St. John i. 17. 

154 JOSHUA. 

are seen and heard no more; but in, and through, 
and by Him. 

Thus St. Paul also in recounting that noble army 
of Patriarchs, Saints, and Martyrs, as partaking of 
His glory and seen as a cloud of witnesses, ends all 
by bidding us to fix our eyes on Him only ; " look- 
ing," He says, the word means in the original, looking 
aside from all other things, " unto Jesus the Author," 
or as in the Greek, the Captain, " and Finisher," or, 
as the word is sometimes rendered, the Arbiter and 
Eewarder, " of our faith ." This therefore is the Joshua 
to whom we look, who speaks of power and of victory 
in God, and of nothing in man, but faith to take hold 
of that victory and power ; in whose transparent cha- 
racter we see nothing but the Captain of our Salva- 
tion, inasmuch as man is lost in God. 

It is then as St. Paul says, " Henceforth know we 
no man after the flesh ; yea, though we have known 
Christ after the flesh, yet now know we Him no 
more*." And of himself "I live, yet not I, but 
Christ liveth in me." Hence Joshua speaks not of 
human virtue and affection, but of power; not of 
man's disposition, but of victory in God. And what 
is this but of God in Jesus Christ P The one lesson 
therefore is that in all, and beyond all His Saints, we 
are to look to Jesus, remembering that He is God as 
well as man ,— that it is altogether difierent to that of 
looking to the example of any man — on account of 
His Godhead, His Atonement, the gift of His Spirit ; 
we look to Him and have power, we have power by 
looking ; nay, by looking, as the Apostle says, we '' are 

> 2 Cor. V. 16. 


changed into the same Image even as by the Spirit 
of the Lord." 

His example indeed seems in some sense to set us 
afar off; for He is all perfection, we full of imperfec- 
tions. He is at such an infinite distance that we 
cannot approach Him. But the name of Joshua 
brings us near ; for by that we know He has power to 
put His own mind into us, and to make us like Him- 
self. And the reason of this is, because we can never 
look to Him merely as our Example, without remem- 
bering at the same time that He is in manifold 
ways unspeakably more. It is when we believe in 
Him as our God, that His example itself becomes 
profitable to us in a way perfectly different from any 
example of good men. 

We are to " look to Jesus," because He is our God ; 
to be "perfect" as "He is perfect;" "to be made 
like unto Him." Our ground of confidence in the 
Day of Judgment is, " because as He is, so are we 
in this world." Now all this is because He has 
enabled us of His power to do so. Oh, the wonderful 
Mystery of our great Exemplar ! As man He sets us 
afar off by His infinite perfections ; but as God and 
Man, by setting us afar He brings us near ; by His 
Godhead He gives us power to approach and a will to 
do so. In following Him we are ever at an immea- 
surable distance; but, strange to speak, while He 
makes us to feel ourselves so far from Him, He brings us 
so intimately near as to be made one with Him by His 
infinite power and Godhead. He invites us to follow 
Him, and by inviting He draws ; He commands, and 
by His commanding gives power to do. And all this 
is in the name of Joshua, or "the Lord the Saviour." 
His Name is a tower of strength ; and therefore in this 


His Name is all our courage. For this His Name 
casteth out devils and all power of the enemy ; this 
His Name is " the bundle of myrrh " on the breast, heal- 
ing and restoring under every woe. His " Name," it 
is said, " is as ointment poured forth '." And what is 
this ointment but the anointing of the Holy One ? 
The Law came by Moses, and is written in the lives of 
the Saints ; but grace to perform and truth to enlighten 
is by Jesus Christ, "Who leadeth into the kingdom. 
Our true inheritance, the rest of the meek, is in Him. 

We '* look to Jesus " as our Example because He is 
so infinitely more ; He is not only the Way, but the 
Life also ; He not only shows the truth, but gives us 
eyes to see it. As we look to Him our souls are 
cleansed, and we gain sight to behold Him more and 
more as He is, because He to Whom we look is Him- 
self the true Light that lighteth every one. 

Yet, further : — Our Joshua to whom we look is not 
only our wisdom. He is also our strength, as He Him- 
self said, " He that abideth in Me, the same bringeth 
forth much fruit," and "Without Me ye can do 
nothing." So important is this great truth, that our 
victory over the world depends entirely on our rightly 
receiving it ; for " this is the victory that overcometh 
the world, even our faith *," our faith in Christ as God. 
Thus the example of our Joshua is different from the 
example of all His Saints, because of His Godhead. 
Powerful is the world around us, powerful is our 
own evil nature, and very powerful is the enemy of 
our souls to our destruction ; and against these our 
own strength is but weakness, even as the chaff before 
the wind, or the leaf in the torrent. But mightier 

' Song of Sol. i. 3, 4. * 1 St. John y. 4. 

JOSHUA. 167 

than all these is the strength of Christ, and we are 
strong by His strength when we endeavour to be like 
Him. By meekness, and mercy, and suffering, He 
overcame the world ; and we in these things shall be 
strong in His strength, and partake in His victory, 
while by faith we look to Him. 

Again, our Joshua is not only Light and Strength, but 
He is Love, He is Love Itself, in that He is God, for 
" &od is Love." How do men imitate and delight in 
following one whom they love ; they are conformed 
and changed, they know not how, by looking to one 
whom they love ; his thoughts become their thoughts, 
his likings and dislikings theirs, his opinions theirs. 
For him they endure hardship, nor do they know any 
greater joy than in enduring hardship for his sake. 
Oh, how sweet and constraining is this power of love ! 
And if it be so of earthly love, how much more of 
heavenly ? If of man and in man, how much more of 
Gk)d ? If love has power to create love, and we are 
inclined to love those who love us, how much more 
when we love God because He hath loved us ? When 
He Who is Love, and hath implanted in our nature 
love for each other, fills our hearts with the love of 
Himself— gives us to partake of love as we partake of 

This then is our Joshua, our courage, our victory ; 
it is in this, the saving Name. Then it is that His 
Atonement works in us — then the wounded man is 
able to arise, and is strengthened for his journey ; the 
Oil and Wine, the Spirit of God and the Blood of Christ, 
are poured into his wounds, and he has a strength 
which is not his own ; to be sensible of his weakness 
becomes his strength; to know his sickness is his 

158 JOSHUA. 

Again, not only is He Whom we follow infinite 
Love, and hj His Spirit works in us love also, but He 
sets before us Himself as the only object worthy of 
our love ; which can fill and satisfy all the desires of 
our hearts, in that He is our Orod ; Whom to love is 
the only end of our being ; Whom to love is life. It 
is He Himself Who is seen by us enduring as Man all 
human suffering— our God in pain, in contempt, in 
sorrow ; and all this for our sakes, and written that 
we may know it, that we may meditate on every part 
and see therein our Orod ; and in every part remember 
ourselves also, beholding our own deservings in His 
burden. We see it all in our God, that humbling and 
bating ourselves, we may long in Him to be hidden, 
that we may lose ourselves and be found in God. 

Such then is the adorable pattern set before us in 
our Joshua ; He all light, we all darkness ; He infinite 
strength, and we great weakness ; He perfect holiness, 
and we full of sin and infirmity ; that the more we 
contemplate Him the more conscious we may be of 
our own demerits. But in that He is God our Savi- 
our, how may we notwithstanding rejoice in His good- 
ness and be bold in His greatness, in that He may be 
in us and we in Him. And so far as this is so, well 
may we consider all the exhortations so repeated to 
Joshua as addressed to ourselves. *' Be strong and of 
good courage, be not afraid,*' it is " the Lord your 
God that fighteth for you ; take good heed therefore 
that ye love the Lord your God.** "All things 
are yours, whether life, or death, or things present, or 
things to come ; all are yours ; and ye are Christ's ; 
and Christ is God's V 

* 1 Cor. iU. 21—23. 

JOSHUA. 159 

It is Thou, O &od and Saviour, that leadest us 
into our true inheritance ! In Thee alone, O Jesus, 
shall we find rest and peace ! and no rest in Thee till 
every enemy which is in our old nature be overcome. 
But Thou art Almighty ; in Thee is victory ; Thou 
hast said unto my soul, " I am thy salvation :" " My 
grace is sufficient for thee." While we contend with 
Amalek our Advocate intercedeth for us ; the Sun and 
Moon are yet waiting their going down, and our 
life is yet prolonged, that we may overcome before 
the night shall have overtaken us. " The stars in their 
courses fight for us," and we must have no peace till 
we are ''more than conquerors through Him that 
loved us." 



Judges xiii. 24. 

'^ And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson ; and 
the child grew, and the Lord blessed him/' 

"We have seen in Joshua the great power we have in 
Jesus Christ to overcome every enemy and obtain 
perfect peace. And so it was with the early Christians ; 
before them fell down all the strongholds of the 
enemy : but with us it is far otherwise. As with the 
Israelites after the death of Joshua, their enemies pre- 
vailed, and continued with them as ''snares," as 
''scourges in their sides, and thorns in their eyes \" 
Yet God was so merciful, that, under the pressure of 
the evils which these brought, '' He thought upon His 
covenant," and heard their prayers ; " When they cried 
unto the Lord in their trouble He delivered them out 
of their distress '." He sent from time to time, when 
they cried unto Him, deliverers to their aid ; such 
were Barak, Gideon, Samson, and others. Thus it is 

1 Josh. xxiiL 13. * Ps. cri. 42—44 ; evil. 11-13. 

SAMSON. 161 

with us; our temptations, through the world, the 
flesh, and the devil, press us often sore. We have not 
overcome them with Joshua ; when oppressed we call 
to God, are comforted and strengthened and, may be, 
overcome our enemies, though it be but for a time. 
The history of Israel, therefore, under the Judges, has 
a peculiar reference to the Church in the day of its 
weakness and* the decay of faith. 

But here arises the question, as these Deliverers 
raised of God were not blameless characters, how far 
they are intended to be examples for us to follow. 
And in this, as in explaining other parts of the Old 
Testament, we must remember the Apostle's words, 
"the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life,*' and 
endeavour to ascertain under the letter the mind of 
the Spirit. 

When St. Paul recounts the Saints of God, which 
by faith obtained a good report, he mentions " Gedeon, 
and Barak, and Samson." The history of Samson 
therefore is for our example. Tet in what ? For he 
loved strange women, the daughters of the uncircum- 
cised Philistine, so forbidden of God, nay, more, the 
harlot of Gaza; he was ensnared and entrapped by 
them, and died in their snares. "No mention of repent- 
ance—no apparent consciousness of sin. As Solomon 
was gifted with wisdom, so was Samson with bodily 
strength ; both for the Church of God ; but it may be 
in neither for their own salvation ; even as in the mira^ 
culous gifts of the early Church, when there might 
be faith such as to remove mountains, yet without 
charity, which alone faileth not ; as they who at last 
will in Christ's Name have "done many wonderful 
works," but are not known of Him. 

These Saints are set before us by St. Paul — but for 


162 SAMSOK. 

what purpose ? Not altogether as the objects of our 
imitation, but as witnesses of the power of faith ; that 
we may look not to them, but rather off and from 
them, to Him of whose power they testify. " Where- 
fore seeing," he adds, " we are compassed about," not 
by examples, but " with so great a cloud of witnesses," 
let us look, he says, not to them, but to " the Author 
and Finisher of our faith." It is therefore of the 
power of this faith in Him that they bear witness to 
us ; but if we have this faith it will be shown in over- 
coming, not wild beasts, but him who as a roaring lion 
walketh about seeking whom he may devour ; not in 
rooting out Philistines, but besetting sins ; accepting 
Christ as our Pattern in all love and obedience. To 
us the example of Christ is manifested ; the " bundle 
of myrrh " is laid open ; the alabaster box is broken, 
and the perfume is abroad; faith in Gtod implies 
Christ Crucified written on our hearts and lives by the 
linger of God ; with them of old faith did not imply 
this ; they knew of the power of God, and divined 
something of His goodness ; but Christ's love was not 
spread out before them, with the " new law " of life. 
With the faith of Samson we shall have the power of 
Samson, not to destroy enemies, but to save them ; 
and in death to overcome not them but ourselves. 

Let us therefore endeavour so to take this remark- 
able history, that from thence may be derived meat 
for the souFs health, and out of the strong may come 
forth the sweetness of wisdom. Our consideration is 
particularly drawn to Samson, by the solemn circum- 
stances which preceded his birth ; they seem to say to 
us, " Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place 
whereon thou standest is holy ground." Prepare thy- 
self for some great manifestation of God's power and 

SA.MSON. 163 

goodness, such as He will vouchsafe to all ages, when 
His people have undone themselves, and yet are at 
any time willing in their captivity and distress to look 
to Him "Whom they have forgotten. For the account 
begins by saying that " the children of Israel had done 
evil,** and the Lord had in consequence " delivered 
them into the hand of the Philistines forty years." 
Well might they ask where is our Joshua, and the vic- 
tory, and the kingdom, and the power ? It was then 
that the Angel of the Lord appeared to the wife of 
Manoah, promising that to her, though barren, a 
child beyond nature should be given of God; but 
requiring the strict dedication of herself from that 
time, and of her son from his birth, as a Nazarite to 
God — one set apart and separate by a strict consecra- 
tion, to Himself. And as God is wont in Holy Scrip- 
ture to repeat by a second admonition, or a second 
vision and manifestation, what He has strongly pur- 
posed for great ends ; so at the prayer of Manoah this 
Angel again appears with circumstances fully detailed 
to arrest attention. They asked his name, but he told 
them not, for it was Secret; clothed with a divine 
terror was his countenance, and great the mystery 
of his appearance ; he would not eat of the kid, but 
when it was offered in sacrifice to God he ascended on 
the flame ; and they fell on their faces to the ground, 
and said, " We shall surely die, because we have seen 
God." And so indeed they would have died had they 
seen God otherwise than in Christ; but it was in 
Christ they beheld Him. And Manoah's wife said to 
her husband, " If the Lord were pleased to kill us, He 
would not have received a burnt offering at our hands." 
Thus then it was that Samson was wonderfully bom, 
and as a child blessed of God, and moved by His 
H 2 

16^! SAMSOX. 

Spirit, and made the instrument of His power, made 
to be as we may say of him as seen in Christ, "a light 
to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people 

Yet further, we must consider in Samson the pecu- 
liarity of his gifts. Of Joshua we read that by the 
hands of Moses he was filled with the Spirit of wisdom 
for his great leadership ; but this was not the case 
with Samson ; he was moved by the Spirit to great 
miracles of strength, but there was no wisdom to guide 
a nation, or indeed his own steps. Though in bodily 
power more than a man, he seems to have been like a 
child in understanding ; and certainly with this there 
was much of the beauty of a childlike disposition, as 
in his constant reference to his parents, even in man- 
hood. There was something childlike in that reserve 
which accompanies inspirations of Grod and the strong 
feelings of childhood, when he slew the lion, and after- 
wards took the honey from it ; neither of which things 
he mentioned, it is said, even to his father or his 
mother, to whom yet he so looked up as a child. There 
is something childlike in not mentioning what greatly 
moves us. There is, moreover, something childlike in 
his great exploits:— as in carrying away the gates of 
Gaza to the hill of Hebron ; in his device of destroy- 
ing the corn with the foxes and the firebrands ; in his 
slaying the thousand men with the jawbone ; in the 
young lion that roared at him, which he slew as a kid ; 
in eating the honey as he went ; in the riddles, too, 
and the bonds. There is a childlike grandeur and 
sublimity in these wonderful works of God. To those 
who quailed before the giant sons of Anak, God showed 
by Samson with what weak instruments He could 
work such deeds of prowess, while one who had in 

SAiiSOK. 165 

himself the power of great armies, yet was as a child 
in his parents' hands, looking to them ; and as a weak 
man in the hands of a woman. And in what was his 
great strength ? not in himself, not in power of limb 
or arm — but hung in the air of his head, as if to 
show how slight the gift. 

What therefore are we to learn from Samson ? His 
history of such romantic interest is no doubt in order 
to exhibit in a most lively manner the power of 
faith. There is something wild and sublime, and, at 
the same time, most simple and attractive in all that is 
recorded of him for this end ; his life is all supernatu- 
ral : unarmed with spear or shield, but armed of God, 
like David afterwards, in faith he stands alone as the 
great saviour of his people ', or one whom God was will- 
ing to make so if they would but look to him. The very 
wildness and strangeness of his life but corresponded 
with that purpose of God, as to show what God was 
willing to do, but did not, on account of their unbe- 
lief. His course, wild and irregular as it might seem 
to be, is spoken of, in a singular degree, as under 
the influences of the Spirit " Who alone worketh great 
marvels." To this may be attributed much in 
explaining the conduct of Samson, for God can 
dispense with His own appointments. It is said on 
the first mention of him as a child, "And the 
Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in 
the camp of Dan ;" and when he slew the lion, " And 
the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and 
he rent him as he would have rent a kid." In 
like manner afterwards when he slew the thirty ; and 
also when he brake his bonds and slew a thousand 

* Neh.ix..27. 

166 SAMSOK. 

men, it is said, "And the Spirit of the Lord came 
mightily upon him*." These expressions raise his 
history into that which is quite beyond daily life. 

And to this something may be attributed in explain- 
ing the conduct of Samson, of things which may have 
been done under a prophetic and Divine impulsion 
instigating or controulling him. Thus it is said 
that his parents " knew not it was of the Lord," 
that he took a wife of the Philistines. This expres- 
sion indeed might signify as it is said in another 
place, " it was of the Lord to harden their hearts that 
He might destroy them*;" implying that it was an 
evil permitted of God. Yet, in this case, it might 
have been an action, not evil but directed of God, 
who, for the carrying out of the great ends of His 
Providence, may suspend His own laws of separation 
between Israelite and Philistine; and like as when 
Hosea was commanded to take " a wife of whoredom," 
that it was with some mystery and allegorical mean- 
ing under the instigation of God. For beside the 
immediate object it might have this further meaning, 
that it represented Christ our Deliverer taking His 
Church from among the Gentiles ; and to the disobe- 
dient Israelites of that generation it might have im- 
plied that this their course of disobedience would lead 
to that consummation, the rejection of themselves, and 
the Gentiles being chosen in their stead. And indeed 
it is very evident, when the men of Judah after- 
wards bound Samson, and then delivered him bound 
into the hands of the Philistines, that this represented 
the Jews giving up Christ bound unto the Gentiles. 

Yet at the same time to Samson himself those 

* Judg. xiv. 19 ; xv. 14. * Josh. xi. 20. 

BAMSOK. 167 

things might have had their own lesson of instruction 
jGrom the evils they brought upon him. Thus at last in 
his blindness and sore bondage, the loss of bodily 
sight might seem a fit punishment for the want of 
wisdom to guide the ways of his life ; darkness and 
chains in the midst of enemies, and the round of toil- 
some labour at the mill might, as St. Gregory has 
observed, represent the blindness and toilsome bond- 
age of Satan's service •. His victory in death, mys- 
terious and significant as it was, yet by his death accom- 
panying that victory may indicate the punishment of 
a life that had not been without blame. 

But Ood forsook him not, — and though he may not 
have acted well or wisely, yet may we not hope that 
the blessing which he had at the beginning when on 
the first mention of him as a child, it is said, '* the 
Lord blessed him,'' returned to him at the last again ? 
and that the self-sacrifice of his life, hallowed to ex- 
cellent mysteries and granted to his prayer, in that 
mighty deed of heroic martyrdom was accepted ? As 
He "Whose name was " "Wonderful %" appeared to his 
father, Manoah, and " did wonderously, as Manoah 
and his wife looked on," and ascended to Heaven 
on the flame from off the altar that " went up toward 
Heaven;" so we may hope it was with Samson in the 
end, and that at his death from that altar of sacrifice 
he ascended to God. Such a view indeed is to him 
charitable ; to ourselves profitable ; and most suitable 
to one of that army of martyrs who " through faith 
wrought righteousness, stopped the mouths of lions, 
out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in 
fight, tiu'ned to flight the armies of the aliens." For 

• St. Greg. In Job. ' Judg. xiii. 18, mar^n, reading. 


"these all," it is added, ''obtained a good report 
through faith." 

Moreover, many things in the history of Samson 
are, as in other Saints of Ood, sanctified to us as 
figures and types of Him on Whom shall rest '' the 
Spirit of ghostly might," even of our Saviour Him- 
self, appearing as v^eak in our weakness, tied by the 
bonds of our infirmities. Who among His own coun- 
trymen " did not many mighty works because of their 
unbelief; of Whom it may be said now as it 
was of old, "O the hope of Israel, the Saviour 
thereof in time of trouble, why shouldest Thou be as 
a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man that 
turneth aside to tarry for a night ? Why shouldest 
Thou be as a man astonied, as a mighty man that 
cannot save ? Yet Thou, O Lord, art in the midst 
of us, an4 we are called by Thy Name^" Thus even 
in his discomfitures and failures Samson speaks to us 
of One Who should always be in our mind. And 
some points in his life may be dwelt upon more parti- 
cularly as containing such spiritual instruction. 

The first deed of prowess in his life seems to anti- 
cipate the end. For our Lord is Himself called the 
Lion of Judah — and of Him came forth in death the 
life and food of His people ; even that Word of life 
which is sweeter to the soul than honey and the 
honeycomb. From death "the eater" that devoureth 
all things hath come forth meat, even He who hath 
said, " My flesh is meat indeed." Wait awhile, and the 
multitude of the nations have gathered like a swarm 
in that death, and from thence derive life. But of 
that lion and its death, strange to say, Samson spake 

» St. Matt. xiii. 68. » Jer. xiv. 8, 9. 

SAMSoir. 169 

not, it is added, to his father or his mother. And 
still more strange of the honey, thence afterwards 
ensuing, Samson, it is said, told not his father or his 
mother. For thus was the death of Christ a mystery 
and a secret, and so were all the consolations thence 
derived, which Israel knew not, and could not under- 
stand. Nay, it was as a "riddle" for a long time — 
" to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks 
foolishness,'' — imparted only to and through her, who 
was taken to be the Church of God from the defiled 
nations of heathenism \ 

But more particularly in the death of Samson do 
we see our Lord and Saviour, when bound and set at 
naught, and blindfolded, and beaten in the hands of 
His enemies. He willingly gave up His life, and by 
His death overcame all the power of the enemy, and 
more than by His life subdued all the kingdoms of 
darkness. And a fulfilment of this there may be again, 
when the sun of this world shall go down, and 
the walls of the universe shall shake and fall. He 
says in the Psalms, " The earth is weak and all the 
inhabitants thereof, I bear up the pillars of it." But 
a time shall come when the faith shall fail and love 
shall wax cold, and He who is the great Deliverer of 
His people shall be in darkness and in bonds ; then 
when they shall say, " peace and all things are safe," 
the Strong Man shall awake, and suddenly there shall 
be a cry, — the earth is departing, the pillars of Heaven 
are shaken, and the Day is come. 

In two points of view, therefore, is the example of 
Samson most profitable to us, first, in showing us the 
marvellous power of faith ; and, secondly, in represent- 

" 1 Judg. xiv. 12. 17. 

170 BAMSOK. 

ing to us the great object of our faith, eyen Christ 
Himself, — the mysteries of His kingdom, His calling of 
the Gentiles, His victory in death itself; the weak 
instruments by which He will overcome the world; 
the childlike spirit of those that are strong in Christ 
as opposed to the wisdom and prudence of the world. 
It is, I am sure, thus that we are to read the characters 
of the Holy Scriptures, if the good Spirit will be 
pleased to interpret them unto us aright ; and this to 
a childlike temper, which looks to Him in prayer. He 
assuredly will do. 

But to return to what we first said of Samson, as 
the type of our strength irregular and broken in these 
latter days ; when we spoke, on Sunday last, of Joshua 
it seemed afar off, too high and heavenly ; for Joshua 
spoke of Christ when the Church was in her " first 
love," when a bow was in His hand, to overcome, and 
a crown was given unto Him to reward, and He went 
forth on the white horse of triumph, " conquering, and 
to conquer*." You cannot then, you think, over- 
come as Joshua, but yet you may as Samson ; you 
have not gone forth victorious, but yielded, and are 
beset with manifold temptations, yet you may call to 
God in your affliction ; and the lion that meets you by 
the way may through feith be overcome with ease ; 
and yield you afterwards the sweetness of divine 
consolation ; though father and mother know not of 
it, those nearest you in the fiesh may not know of 
your struggle, nor of your conquest, nor of your 
spiritual comforts thence derived. Yet you may have 
in yourself the power of Christ risen, and in that 
strength you may yet go on your way ', and do great 

' Rev. vi. 2. ' Judg. xiv. 9. 

8AMS0K. 171 

tilings. It may be that the Church of God is fallen 
upon evil days ; no Joshua with the spirit of wisdom 
to lead, and direct, and conquer ; but in Christ you 
may yet have power to work in faith even great mar- 
vels. " Thou shalt shew us wonderful things in Thy 
righteousness, O God of our Salvation." 

Yet one word more in conclusion ; the strength of 
Samson was in his hair, that which could least of all 
have any thing to do with means of strength; in 
order to show that his power was all of God ; those 
unshorn locks were signs of his being a Nazarite, dedi- 
cated to God even before his birth ; there was a power 
from that dedication which lasted all his life. " There 
hath not come a razor upon mine head ; for I have been 
a Nazarite unto God from my mother's womb ; if I 
be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I 
shall become weak, and be like any other man." 
Thus with us our power is from our dedication to 
God at Baptism ; water, the weakest of all things, 
could have nothing to do of itself with spiritual 
strength ; but God has so appointed it as a sign and 
means ; when we become defiled with sin, then is our 
strength gone from us; but after deep repentance 
and humiliation it may again return, and we at length 
may be so recovered, that when the last great trial 
comes we may in death prevail; — the strong man 
be cast out of his place by One Stronger than he ; 
and in and through Christ " death be swallowed up in 



1 Samuel i. 20. 

" She bare a son, and called bis name Samuel, saying, Because I 
bave asked him of the Lord.'' 

Samuel was the man of intercession ; he might be 
called in more senses than one the child of prayer, 
even from his birth throughout unto the end. He 
was given as a child to his mother's prayers, and 
received his name from that circumstance, " the asked 
of God ;" and his whole life was in harmony with this 
his name, for he was always as one asking of God. 

We have seen lately how the circumstances which 
preceded the birth of Samson were significant and 
prophetic of his after-life ; the same is remarkably the 
case with Samuel also. In the Scriptural account of 
the one there is the angel appearing to Manoah and 
his wife, with a "countenance very terrible," and 
" doing wonderously :" in that of the other we see a 
woman in very earnest prayer ; and with circumstances 
which give a solemn and divine character to that 
prayer ; in the place of worship at Shiloh ; with Eli 

SAMUEL. 173 

the Priest on his throne, " by the posif of the temple 
of the Lord," noting the earnestness of that prayer, 
and receiving it with his blessing; "Go in peace;" 
he says to Hannah, "and the God of Israel grant 
thee thy petition that thou hast asked of Him." To 
which it is further added of both the parents, " And 
they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped 
before the Lord." Samuel also like Samson was to 
be a Nazarite ; but Samson was so dedicated from the 
announcement of the angel ; Samuel from his mother's 
vow in her prayer. Thus one spoke of the wonder- 
working God; the other of the signal prayer, the 
priest, the temple ; and the prayer recorded, and the 
vow accepted of the Most High ; and the name given 
on the fulfilment of the prayer. And then follows 
the solemn offering up of the child, and his mother's 
words to Eli. " I am the woman that stood by thee 
here, praying unto the Lord. For this child I prayed ; 
and the Lord hath given me my petition which I 
asked of Him. Therefore also I have lent him to the 
Lord, as long as he liveth." And then to crown all is 
Hannah's memorable song of thanksgiving. 

And the beginnings of life with the two Nazarites 
were in accordance with their birth ; of Samson it is 
said, he grew as a child, blessed of God, "and the 
Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the 
camp of Dan." But Samuel we behold in the "House 
of Prayer;" clothed in the sacred garment of prayer ; 
"he worshipped the Lord there," it is added; he 
"ministered before the Lord, being a child girded 
with a linen ephod." Such then was the institution 
of the child of Prayer ; nor is this of itself a small 
matter, or one of little account with God and the 
Great Ones that are with Him, for the angels who see 

174 SAMUEL. 

His face, watch over such little ones ; and we know 
on Palm Sunday what the voice of acceptance was — 
"the children crying in the Temple, and saying, 
Hosannah to the Son of David ;" — and the Lord of 
the Temple Himself acknowledging it as the most 
acceptable worship, and saying, " Tea, have ye never 
read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou 
hast perfected praise ' ?" 

But the next circumstance in the history itself will 
tell us what the child of prayer is with God; for 
when about to bring in great changes and to sub- 
stitute the New Priesthood in place of the old, not to 
Eli, the aged Priest, nor to any who might be great 
before men in station and authority does God reveal 
His judgments, but communicates the heavy tidings to 
the child in the Temple. The occasion may have 
part in our Lord's great thanksgiving, when He 
rejoiced in spirit and said, " I thank Thee, O Father, 
Lord of Heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these 
things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed 
them unto babes!" And how full of interest is the 
whole narrative; Samuel, the thrice called of God, 
the thrice chosen, thrice loved ; as if, like as in the case 
of St. Peter afterwards, that repeated invocation of 
his name were a token of great things that were to be 
by him hereafter. And with what ready childlike 
obedience is the call heard ! it was indeed receiving 
the kingdom of God as a little child. And we may 
notice the modesty of nature which there is about the 
child of prayer, he is as a child throughout in bearing 
this vision of God ; he rises from sleep, he hastens to 
his Priest and Guide; and after all he lays down 

> St. Matt. xxi. 16. 

SAMUEL. 175 

again in peace and quiet. How different to Saul, 
when it was said, " Is Saul also among the Pro- 
phets ?" he " lay down naked all that day and all that 
night'," he was as it were not himself; but in Samuel 
the holier yision of God does not overturn, but sanc- 
tifies nature, humbles, quiets. There is nothing 
constrained, nothing unsuitable : for divine love 
'' vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not be- 
have itself unseemly :" — nor again willingly divulges 
what it receives from God ; such is the natural sim- 
plicity of the child of prayer. 

And what is the next thing we read of Samuel? 
that God would "let none of his words fall to the 
groimd :" his words partook of his communion with 
Gk)d. Now this is very important in those who are 
given to prayer : their words become after their degree 
and in a manner full of God ; so that not with keen 
intellect, or learned education, or forcible eloquence, 
but with the man of prayer wisdom is to be found. 

But this spirit of prayer in Samuel is but as yet as 
the " tree planted by the water side," replenished with 
the dews from above, and by the sun drawn upward 
towards Heaven ; it has yet to spread forth branches 
laden with flowers and iruits, beautiful to behold and 
full of fragrance ; " like a palm tree in En-gaddi, and 
as a rose plant in Jericho." For prayer is drinking 
into the soul the love of God; and thence in due 
season it shows itself in love to man ; it embraces 
all around with tender sympathies, stretching forth 
branches of pleasant savour; "the mother of fair 
love, and knowledge, and holy hope'." 

And thus we find that Samuel was reared for public 

> 1 Sam. xix. 24. ' Ecclus. xxlv. 14. 18. 

176 SAMUEL. 

station, for times of great difficulty, and humanly 
speaking attended 'with much disappointment, but 
hallowed by his prayers and intercessions. Such 
is that event which the history next mentions, that 
"the ark of the covenant of the Lord of Hosts 
which dwelleth between the cherubims*," was brought 
from Shiloh to be the strength of Israel in battle, but 
was taken by the Philistines. Now to the holy child 
from Bamah, ministering in Shiloh, and brought up 
apart in communion with God ; who had no earthly 
home but the House of God, no hope in religion 
but connected with the visible ark of God's Presence, 
what greater calamity could have occurred ? And what 
then did Samuel? it is said, ^^ Samuel spake to all the 
house of Israel, saying. If ye do return unto the Lord 
with all your hearts, and prepare your hearts unto the 
Lord; — He will deliver you." He speaks as with 
mithority, as if inspired to do so in answer to prayer, 
for ** God suffered not his words to fall to the 
ground;" to this it is added, "and Samuel said. 
Gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you 
unto the Lord." And such confidence was there in 
his prayers, that afterwards when the terror of the 
Philistines was upon them it is added, " And the chil- 
dren of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto 
the Lord our God for us." And so powerful was his 
prayer, that as if he had been a warrior or an armed 
host or far more, it is added, " So the Philistines were 
subdued, — and the hand of the Lord was against 
them all the days of Samuel." So availing is the 
intercession of a righteous man; so full of healing 
and expiation that sacred ordinance of God ; and so 

* 1 Sam. iv. 4. 

SAMUEL. 177 

great the strength of one that had by habitual prayer 
made himself strong in God. 

From this his tender regard for his people, as 
a father for his children, arises the next affliction of 
Samuel, on the signs of their unbelief in God in asking 
for a king; and here again is immediately specified 
the same never-failing remedy for his sorrow. " But 
the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a 
king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord." 
And what does he then do with their murmurings 
and obstinate opposition ? Did he tell it to his friends, 
or refer to counsellors for advice? No. "And 
Samuel," it is said, "heard all the words of the 
people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the 

And after he has made them a king, the account of 
Samuel's dealings with them is very beautiful: he 
seems by prayer, like Elijah afterwards, to hold as it 
were the elements — the thunder and the rain — in his 
hands, and this power he uses not to afflict them, or 
punish, but to warn ; indeed his unfailing sympathies 
and great gentleness, and their confidence in his 
prayers, form the interesting and very soothing part 
of the history of those days and that hard people. 
So much so that he comes out strongly, as representing 
our Blessed Saviour Himself, standing a mediator 
between God and man with such a tender feeling for 
their infirmities. He expostulates — warns, yet at the 
same time comforts and encourages them, and they 
look to him. " And all the people said unto Samuel, 
Pray for thy servants unto the Lord thy God." . . . 
" And Samuel said unto the people, Pear not ; but 

* 1 Sam, viii. 6. 21. 

178 SAMUEL. 

serve the Lord with all your heart, for the Lord 
will not forsake His people." And then are these 
striking words, " Moreover, as for me, God forbid that 
I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for 
you *." Here he shows that he held these continual in- 
tercessions for them so much as a part of his own duty, 
that to omit them would be a sin in him ; that not only 
love to them, but duty to God was in his prayers. 

And now in the history there awaits him a fresh 
occasion of sorrow; and it is met again by him in 
the same way, as if saying, "Is there not balm in 
Gilead for every wound ? " "Is there any thing too 
hard for the Lord?" "Then came the word of the 
Lord unto Samuel, saying. It repenteth me that I 
have set up Saul to be king ; for he is turned back 
from following Me." ..." And it grieved Samuel, 
and he cried unto the Lord all that night ^." 
' In all these things there is in Samuel especially to 
be noticed, as always connected with the spirit of 
prayer, his great hopefulness : his readiness to hope 
the best even of those who are in sin ; hoping even 
against hope; and no doubt having his prayers an- 
swered in some way, even in seeming disappoint- 
ments, while he continued in the full confidence and 
assurance of prayer. Such hopefulness often brings 
about the very fulfilment of its most sanguine desires. 

Further, a proof of this tender sympathizing spirit 
of the good Samuel, and the estimation in which he 
was held as a Protector and Divine shield, may be 
seen in the conduct of Saul towards him ; the sad king 
clings as it were to the skirt of his mantle for refuge 
from his own evil self, and the evil spirits that haunted 

« 1 Sara. xii. 1.0. 23. M Sam. xv. 11. 

SAMUEL. 179 

him ; and even after Samuel's death, in his great dis- 
tress, he still looks to and longs for Samuel. Through- 
out the compassions and parent-like pitjr of Samuel 
seem to have had an impression on his proud heart. 
He asks him not for his prayers, but clings to his 
protection, as if in Samuel himself resided the power 
of sheltering him. 

And how affecting is that description of Samuel, 
when he " came no more to see Saul, until the day of 
his death ;" that he " mourned for Saul," praying for him 
in secret, though he saw him no more, and continuing 
long to do so, till God said to him, " How long wilt 
thou mourn for Saul ?" and told him that there was 
another answer to his prayers, in the man after God's 
own heart, not in Saul. 

Such then was Samuel, so remarkable above all men 
for prayer, that the Psalmist singles him out as the 
chief among those that pray; "Moses and Aaron 
among His priests, and Samuel among such as call 
upon His Name*." And the Prophet Jeremiah 
places him with Moses as the two prevailing inter- 
cessors ; " Then said the Lord unto me. Though Moses 
and Samuel stood before Me, yet My mind could not 
be toward this people •." They seem both here men- 
tioned for the singular love they bore for the people 
over whom they were placed. Moses so earnestly 
interceded with God, that he was ready to die for 
them, " If Thou wilt forgive their sin ; and if not, blot 
me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book **." And in like 
manner, his people were ever in the heart of Samuel, 
as the Urim and Thummim in the breastplate of judg- 

• Ps.xcix.(i. 9 Jer. XV. 1. 

" Exod. xx\ii. 33. 

N 2 

180 SAMUEL. 

ment, with the names of the children of Israel on the 
breast of the High Priest when he stood before God \ 
His mind seems ever to have been as in those his words, 
" But God forbid that I should cease to pray for you." 
" For my love they are my adversaries : but I give 
myself unto prayer *." 

Now there occur two observations which may be 
made on this interesting history of Samuel. First, 
that they were the troubles and sorrows of life which 
were the moving causes of his prayers ; so that indeed 
the child of prayer could not have existed without 
them. So was it with his mother Hannah before his 
birth ; we first read of the sore provocation with which 
she was tried, and how keenly her mind felt the trial. 
" She was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the 
Lord, and wept sore." "She continued praying 
before the Lord." She said to Eli, " I am a woman of 
a sorrowful spirit." " Out of the abundance of my 
complaint and grief have I spoken." Here we see 
that had it not been for this distress and sorrow, this 
prayer of faith would not have been made, nor would 
the child of prayer have been so bom and named. 
And as was the birth of Samuel, so also was his life, 
nurtured as it were and sustained by drops from his 
Master's cup, and crumbs from His table of sorrow. 
We have observed many occasions in which Samuel is 
spoken of as praying and interceding, and now every 
one of these was on account of some urgent distress 
and trouble ; so that, as we read of his mother, she 
was " in bitterness of soul and prayed," so of Samuel, 
that "the thing displeased Samuel, and he prayed 
unto the Lord." And again, " And it grieved 

» Exod. xxviii. 29. * Ps. cix. 4. 

SAMUEL. , 181 

Samuel, and he cried unto the Lord all night." O 
blessed rod of affliction, when it thus turns the soul 
to Heaven and unites it to God ! As the young bird 
when alarmed flies unto its parent's wing, so in trouble 
does the soul which He hath made % unto God. It 
is said that " man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly 
upward ;" and we may well see the reason for this, for 
it may be added, that as the sparks fly upward, so in 
trouble do the desires of a good man ascend to 

Samuel's life was all affliction. As a child he was 
taken from home and parents, removed from the 
tender love of a mother ; these were early trials that 
weaned the heart. Then the priestly guardian of his 
childhood was overwhelmed in ruin and misery. 
Samuel was unhappy in his children, in the people 
whom he had to govern, in the king of his anointing, 
so that over all these he had continually to mourn. 
Yet he was pre-eminently blessed of God, brought as 
it were near to His throne, which is the well of life 
and joy, there to intercede, not for himself, but for 
others ; and this being brought near to God was 
through his prayers, and these prayers could not have 
been were it not for these occasions of sorrow. Every 
one became to him a step higher in that life which is 
with God. There are leaves and plants which give 
out their sweetness when pressed, bruised, and broken ; 
so the soul under the pressure of misfortune yields 
her healing power and intercedes for others. It may 
be that Samuel's life was not marked with afflictions 
more than others, but we see in him the effect of such 
afflictions, as he was so much given to prayer. We 
see what God intends by them, and why the saints of 
God are usually more chastened than others, inasmuch 

182 BAMT7EL. 

as upon tbem such chastisements are not lost, but 
productive of much fruit. To those who will reflect 
on such things in their own hearts and lives, nothing 
will be found so wonderful as the dealings of God with 
the human soul, more so than all the marvels of nature 
and Providence in the world at large. We may yet 
further observe, that as trouble disposes the heart to 
prayer, so on the contrary every joy of the world, 
success, gain, any passion, or excitement, or self-indul- 
gence, has its effect in withdrawing the heart from 
communion with God. However trivial it may be, it 
has this effect in its degree. It may be that we are 
pleased, and are at ease, and the day passes, passes on 
to eternity, there to be numbered with our appointed 
time. Or it may be we are vexed, saddened, dark- 
ened; and in consequence our comfort has been in 
prayer ; and our prayers have been more real and 
earnest, and have been as wings strong enough to bear 
our heart and treasure to be with God. 

The second observation I am about to make is this, 
that our having in various ways connexion with others 
becomes the continual occasion of intercession and 
prayer. It was his care for others, his charge whom 
he loved, whether the nation or the king, his deep and 
lively interest for those of whom he had the charge, 
whether Eli, or Israel, or Saul, which kept up in 
Samuel the spirit of prayer. His life of prayer was 
not in isolation or in contemplation, but an active, 
laborious life, as Priest at the altar, as Judge of 
Israel, and Prophet of God. All is for others — none 
for himself. As our Lord prayed on many occasions 
of establishing His kingdom, — before He called the 
Twelve, before He sent out the Seventy, before the 
conftssion of St. Peter, before His Transfiguration, 


before the Sermon on the Mount, and before giving 
the Lord's Prayer ; so He has made in us our many 
responsibilities for others to be the constraining occa- 
sions of prayer. Prayer increases both love of God 
and love of man. Our family cares and interests, our 
sorrows and anxieties for dependents, children, and 
friends, these, it is, which bring us to lay aside such our 
troubles with Christ. Mary who had chosen the good 
part sat at Jesus' feet, but His eye and His heart is 
with Martha also, and by the many troubles of " much 
serving " He would bring her to be there also ; and if 
this be not enough, by the sick bed and the dying of 
her brother Lazarus, He will even yet bring her to 
His feet, and she shall there confess, " Tea, Lord, I 
believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, 
which should come into the world *." Now this saving 
faith is much brought about by anxieties and inter- 
cessions for others. Oh, what a sight it would be if 
the veil were uplifted, and we were to see all that is 
done by prayer ! 

» St. John xi. 27. 



1 Samuel xvi. 14. 

** But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil 
spirit from the Lord troubled him." 

The striking characters of Holy Scripture are set 
before us in conjunction with others, with whom they 
are most strongly seen by comparison or by contrast. 
Thus with Samuel the man of prayer, with David the 
man after God's own heart, with his son Jonathan, so 
lovely yet so truly great, comes to us the unhappy 
Saul. Thus we see in those that fall away, what they 
might have been if they had so willed ; and how the 
grace of God hath moulded others to be as the stars 
that shine for ever. Saul might have prayed like 
Samuel, might have waited upon God as David did, 
might have loved with largenessof heart like Jonathan. 
We see, especially in the history of Saul, the awful 
progress of the soul, from the gradual changes that 
take place in him, while in his successive trials evil 
prevails over the Spirit of grace and opportunities of 
good. There is also a sort of natural goodness about 

SAUL. 185 

him that rivets our interest ; so that from the very 
feeling of a common nature, we are partly inclined to 
forget his crimes in his miseries. 

Saul had every thing which the natural man could 
desire. Gifted in mind and body, — " See ye him," said 
Samuel, " whom the Lord hath chosen, that there is 
none like him.*' He was " a choice young man, and a 
goodly: and there was* not among the children of 
Israel a goodlier person than he ; from his shoulders 
and upward he was higher than any of the people ^" 
The Spirit of God moreover was given him to fit 
him for his kingdom at that anointing. And the 
anointing was to him " the oil of gladness ;" for the 
Prophet himself delighted in him ; and God turned the 
hearts of the people towards him, so that, on the day 
of his institution, "Saul,*' it is said, "and all the 
people rejoiced greatly." The pride of the people — 
the chosen of God— and having in him qualities that 
even endeared him throughout to the wisest and 
best of men ; but more than this, for even in those 
things in which he afterwards fell — disobedience and 
pride of heart, — he has at first the testimony of God 
for good ; for the Lord says to Samuel, " Saul is turned 
back from following Me;" he had therefore once 
followed obediently the guidance of God. And Samuel 
says to him, " When thou wast little in thine own 
sight*;" so that he once was humble of mind. But 
now he rejoices in himself, not in God; and there 
arises in him that self-elation which goes before a fall ; 
" the beginning of pride is when one departeth from 
God;" "for pride is the beginning of sin'." The 

1 1 Sam. X. 23 ; ix. 2. » 1 Sam. xv. 11. 17. 

» Ecelus. x. 12, 13. 

186 SAUL. 

trial whicH comes does not occasion this self-confidence 
and rising of the heart against God, but brings out 
and proves that which was in the soul. 

At .the time of anointing him king, Samuel gave 
him the injunction to go down before him to Gilgal, 
and there to wait seven days till he himself 
should come to offer the sacrifices and burnt ofter- 
ings. This, though he knew it not, was to be the 
proof of Saul's faith; this would show whether he 
trusted in himself or in God, whether he could wait 
for God and upon God. What appeared an accidental 
urgency of circumstances was wisely calculated for 
this probation. The case seemed pressing; the ap- 
pointed time just transpiring ; the people were scat- 
tered; the Philistines were coming on; what could 
be more religious than Saul's anxiety at such a time 
for supplication and for sacrifice ? Thus, as the Jews 
afterwards, he deceived himself with religion ; but the 
heart and life of religion, faith, was wanting ; for what 
was the use of supplication and sacrifice ? were they 
not to obtain God's assistance ? but could not God 
assist without them ? '' Stand still and see the salva- 
tion of the Lord*," was the very pledge of deliverance 
given by Moses at the Eed Sea. Thus Saul becomes 
a sign of the taking away of the kingdom from Israel. 
It is the opposite to the obedience of the Son of God. 
" Sacrifice and meat-offering Thou wouldest not ; but 
Mine ears hast Thou opened." " Lo, I come to do 
Thy will, O God!" "Tea, Thy law is within My 
heart." "Thou hast done foolishly," said Samuel, 
" thou hast not kept the commanduient of the Lord 
thy God. Thy kingdom shall not continue ; the Lord 

* Exod. xiv. 13. 

BAn. 187 

hath sought Him a man after His own heart/' even 
him whose saying is, " I waited patiently for the Lord." 
"My soul, wait thou still," i.e. calm and patient, 
" upon God." 

"Woe unto them that have lost patience*." 
" Patient abiding," " possessing the soul in patience," 
"patient waiting for the Lord," are ever spoken of as 
the part of acceptable faith in the last days; when 
they that fall away shall say in their heart, as Saul did 
of Samuel, the prophet of God, " My Lord delayeth 
His coming." 

Thus was he weighed in the balance and found 
wanting. As with Uzziah, that other king who 
invaded the Priest's office*, the secret leprosy of sin 
rose up to his forehead, and the subtle contagion of 
that pride filled all his body and clave to him to the 

Then comes the second trial, when Samuel reminds 
him of his anointing, and sends him utterly to destroy 
Amalek ; but Saul again is more merciful than the all- 
merciful God, more religious than the holy Samuel. 
He spares Agag, and he saves the best of the spoil to 
offer sacrifice to God ; thus he blinds himself in his 
disobedience with a show of clemency and religion. 
" And Samuel said. Hath the Lord as great delight in 
burnt-offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice 
of the Lord ? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice." 
Por obedience is the sacrifice of the soul itself to God, 
which is better than that of slain beasts; it is the 
offering up of the will itself. And here we may 
observe, as in the case of Ahab and Benhadad, the 
great anger of God with those who spare whom He 

' Ecclus. ii. 14. 8 2 Chron. xxvi. 16. 19. 

188 SAUL. 

would not spare, and His approval of those who execute 
His judgments, as Phineas, Joshua, and Jehu, warning 
us not to forget His judgments in His mercies. 

But the state of Saul's heart appears still more 
strongly in his shadow of repentance than in his sin 
itself. He confesses, " I have sinned ;" but this con- 
fession is not accompanied with humiliation before 
G-od, and in consequence a willingness to be humbled 
before men ; on the contrary, he seeks his own honour, 
not that of God, with this confession on his lips. " I 
have sinned, yet honour me, I pray thee, before the 
elders of my people, and turn again with me, that I 
may worship the Lord.'* Here we have the very spirit 
of the Pharisees, loving the praise of man more than 
the praise of God, and of the rejected Israel when the 
Gt)spel was preached. Even in the worship of God 
Saul seeks his own honour ; whereas David in doing 
service to God says, " I will yet be more vile than 
this; and will be base in mine own sight ^." David 
said, "I have sinned against the Lord;" and Nathan 
answered, " The Lord also hath put away thy sin®." 
Saul says, " I have sinned ;" but " Samuel," it is 
added, '' came no more to see Saul until the day of his 
death ;" "and it repented the Lord that He had made 
Saul king over Israel." 

Prom this commences a new phase in the history, as 
deeply impressive, as sadly affecting as any thing can 
be — the downward course of a man who hath departed 
from God in his heart. " Lo, this is the man that 
took not God for his strength ;" yet for a while " I 
have seen him in great power, and flourishing like a 
green bay-tree." But now, in the awful words of the 

' 2 Sam. vi. 22. « 2 Sam. xii. 13. 

SAUL. 189 

text, "The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, 
and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him." And 
it is the harp of David that soothes the unhappy king. 
What a strange and solemn history; how divinely 
beautiful that harp; with what touching sweetness 
must it have lingered on the ears of the king, as it 
awakened for a time all the wisdom of his earlier life, 
and the promise of his youth ! It must have been 
like a lost spirit listening to angelic strains in Heaven 
before its gates were closed against him for ever. 
" He was refreshed," it is added, " and was well, and 
the evil spirit departed from him." And yet more, he 
" greatly loved David " the minstrel. Here we have 
all the natural goodness of Saul, which renders his 
fall so awful and affecting. "What great virtues had 
he shown had his heart been but right with God. He 
had been generous to his enemies, who had refused alle- 
giance to him ' ; he had been heroic-minded, yielding 
up his son Jonathan to die *. David's pathetic lamen- 
tation over him at his death shows that Saul was no 
ordinary character, to have engaged such love and kept 
it throughout. It required a voice from God Himself 
to awaken Samuel from his grief for one so loved and 
honoured ; the kiss of love he had glvea at hia maomir 
ing ' continued in Samuel's affection to the end. And 
the " mountains of Gilboa " bore witness to the rare 
affection of a father and son, as " lovely in their lives," 
and "in their death not divided \" 

And now the " evil spirit from the Lord " troubles 
him, and though driven away for a time, finds access 
into his heart, and brings with him all malice and 

» 1 Sam. xi. 13. » I Sam. xiv. 44. 

« 1 Sam. X. 1, » 2 Sam. i. 23. 


190 SAUL. 

misery. He had disobeyed God, obeying the people ; 
he had listened to the people's voice, not to that of 
Q-od ; and therefore when another is in the praise of 
the people the evil spirit hath with envy filled his 
heart. " The women answered one another as they 
played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and 
David his ten thousands. And Saul was very wroth, 
and the saying displeased him.'* "And Saul eyed 
David from that day and forward." David had been 
his aid in need ; had subdued for him the Philistines ; 
had comforted him from the evil spirit ; but his love 
is turned into hate ; the fire of Hell is kindled in his 
bosom, and makes visible the darkness of that heart 
wherein once was the light of Q-od's countenance. 
Lo, he has become as Cain to Abel, " because his own 
works were evil and his brother's righteous." He 
becomes the type of him that is bom after the flesh, 
and persecuteth him that is born after the Spirit. 

Again and again he attempts to slay him: more 
than once by his own hand; and by means of his 
messengers ; and through the Philistines. But all in 
vain, for he is fighting against God. And now all 
things around him that should have been otherwise 
his delight and glory, are turned to gall and worm- 
wood, the poison of his soul. All his friends around 
him are hateful to him because they love one whom 
Otod loves. " All of you," he says, " have conspired 
against me." " There is none of you that is sorry 
for me." Doubtless all were grieved for him, but 
none could heal that malady which was in his own 
soul. Who can give peace to him who is not at peace 
with God ? All the love which there is around him 
but adds to his own envy and misery ; and that which 
charity would have made his delight and joy, has 

SAUL. 191 

now become food for the never-dying worm which is 
in his bosom. God Himself hath set His love on the 
man after His own heart ; Israel and Judah love him ; 
his own daughter loves him ; and his own son above all ; 
and the priests of God favour him ; and the conse- 
quence of this is, that Saul in all his prosperity is 
more distressed than Job in all his afflictions. Pos- 
sessing all things, yet having nothing ; while David in 
single-hearted faith is as having, nothing, yet possess- 
ing all things. " The righteous shall hold on his way, 
and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and 

How strange and impressive is now the narrative, 
while David with love answers the enmity and hate of 
Saul ! And very striking is the description, when twice 
overcome by David's sparing his life when it was in his 
power, he relents and is softened for a time ; but only 
for a time ; for the evil spirit within him has become 
too powerful, has taken up his abode and will not be 
dislodged. " And it came to pass, when David had 
made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that 
Saul said. Is this thy voice, my son David? And 
Saul lifted up his voice and wept. And he said to 
David, Thou art more righteous than I : for thou hast 
rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee 
evil*." He even prays for him, "wherefore the Lord 
reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me 
this day." Who could have supposed that Saul after 
he had thus spoken, should yet again pursue David as 
he had done before; and should again have his life 
spared by him in the same manner, and make the like 
confession of his unreasonable hate and sin; and 

* Job xvii. 9. * 1 Sam. xxiv. 16, 17. 

192 BAUL. 

that yet notwithstanding, David's life should be no 
more safe with him than it had been before. " Be- 
hold," he says, "I have played the fool, and have 
erred exceedingly.'* " Blessed be thou, my son 
David: thou shalt do great things and still prevail*." 
O miserable state, to be thus hunted and haunted 
by the evil which in his better moments he de- 
plores ! he is like two persons, his better self, and the 
evil one within him, contending and struggling toge- 
ther for awhile, till they become both one. And thus 
at length, while he yields to the evil spirit, he shuts up 
against himself the mercies and loving-kindness of 
God, and is cast out from His presence. For now the 
time of real distress and trouble comes upon him, and 
he feels the approach of the King of Terrors. " And 
when Saul saw the host of the Philistines he was 
afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. And when 
Saul enquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him 
not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by pro- 
phets." And now, O strange and sad reverse, the 
Anointed of God, the Hope of Israel, lies stretched 
on the ground in the witch's cave 1 Alas, indeed I it 
would seem as if the evil spirit were looking through 
his prison bars and mocking him throughout with his 
false pretences to goodness, with semblances and 
counterparts of his former sins and inconsistencies. 
"Thou renewest Thy witnesses against me'." He 
that would spare the cruel Agag will not spare the 
merciful David ; he that was so careful of sacrifice slays 
eighty and five innocent Priests of God in his wrath 
against David ; he who saved the best from the Ama- 
lekites to sacrifice to the Lord his God, afterwards 

• 1 Sam. xxvi. 21. 26. r Job x. 17. 

SAUL. 193 

falls upon the Priests ; and " Nob, the city of the 
Priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both 
men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, 
and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword '•" 
In '^ his zeal for Israel and Judah," he broke the 
covenant thej had made, and slew the Gibeonites 
whom Joshua spared, till their blood called aloud to 
God *. He who would have the kingdom perpetuated 
in his own house, attempts to slay his own son on 
whom that house depended, because he loved the heir 
of the kingdom whom God had chosen. He who cared 
so much for the people's voice, now hates the sound of 
that voice because it is with David. He who in his 
zeal for God had put away all the witches from out of 
Israel, is now by her of Endor lifted up from the dust 
and comforted. Unseasonably and against God he 
spared the Amalekite, and by l^e hands of an Ama- 
lekite he himself dies. 

Now to us all this lesson is very striking ; Scrip- 
ture always speaks to us in history and life what it 
enjoins us in word and precept : our Lord says, " Hold 
fast, that no man take thy crown/' and here before 
our eyes we see the choice and the crown transferred 
from one to another, and we see the reasons why — 
and the effect. May we consider it. 

Let us not put away from us this account of Saul 
as belonging to another state of things, for whatever 
it may speak to kings and nations, it is full of a home 
lesson for the heart of each. !For may not each of 
us in the home of his own heart have an evil spirit 
that troubleth him ? It may be so with many in 
various degrees who think not of it. The cares which 

• 1 Sam. xxii. 19. * 2 Sam. xxi. 1, 2. 


194 SAUL. 

most suffer are from this source. What is envy, 
covetousness, impatience, the plague of the heart, but 
this, that a man has in some degree, perhaps in years 
long past, sinned in this way ; and so, not having re- 
pented, given place to an evil spirit that troubles and 
keeps him from God ? This may be the case, and yet for 
awhile he may have much comfort in religion, as Saul 
had in the harp of David ; Church music may in like 
manner soothe him and raise him up as it were to 
Heaven ; or it may be impressive Sermons ; or even 
the study of God's holy Word ; so much so, that under 
the influence of these the evil spirit may depart, and 
he may be refreshed, nay, more, he may find rest in 
Christ. He may have soft passionate relentings, as 
Saul had, struck with the goodness of David, at the 
sight of which the evil one may depart, as before 
from the heavenly music of David's harp. But this 
is not enough, unless he press forward earnestly, and 
give no place to such an inmate in his breast any 
more. " When thou goest with thine adversary, 
as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou be 
dolivored from him ^** 

Hi-ripturo reveals to us that there is in' such cases 
a Hpiriturtl being, a living person, who takes posses- 
Hion of the mind. And I would particularly call 
attention to the expression of the text, "an evil 
spirit from the Lord." Now although this is an 
awful and alarming expression, yet it is also full of 
instruction and comfort, as every thing must be which 
reminds us that we are in the hands of God ; as we 
before noticed in the history of Pharaoh. When we 
trace in our very disquietudes and sorrows the indica- 

1 St.Lukexii.68. 

SAUL. 195 

tions of an enl spirit that troubles us, this teaches us 
where our health is. That this evil spirit is from 
God is no proof that we are given up of Him. For 
indeed even David himself when he numbered the 
people had an evil spirit from God, allowed to bring 
upon him that temptation and its consequent misery. 
He can touch no one but as permitted of God ; and 
that permission may be for various reasons : he was 
allowed to tempt Job for his greater perfection; 
through the false prophets he deluded Ahab to bring 
upon him God's judgment; he troubled Saul with 
gloom and pride on his departing from God; he 
tempted Judas that he might go to his own place ; 
he prompted David to sin from which he speedily 
recovered by repentance. In like manner he is 
allowed to tempt us ; and it is indeed sometimes, as in 
the case of Saul and of David, a judgment upon us 
for some fault on our part, or some secret unbelief 
or pride of heart, but we are thus by this expression 
of the text taught to go to God for help. We can- 
not be too often urged in every way to do this. Why 
indeed is the account of our Lord's going about in 
the Gospels so vividly set before us, but to instruct 
us in this truth ; the Apostle's description is, that He 
** went about healing all those that were oppressed of 
the devil;" and the same may be said at this day as 
He is seen by faith in His Church. When you find 
in yourself any ill-will, any worldly disappointment or 
envious sadness, go to Him at once in earnest prayer, 
entreating Him to remove from you the power and 
guilt of that sin which has allowed the evil spirit to 
disquiet you. When you have thus done all in your 
power, then again the lesson of Saul and David will come 
in for your guidance, warning you not to take things 
o 2 

196 SAUL. 

into your own hands from impatience and distrust of 
God, but to wait patiently upon Him. He will have 
the remedy and deliverance to be entirely His own 
doing. He only wants your faith and confidence in 
Himself. And His word is " Be still then, and know 
that I am God V 

« Pb. xlvi. 10. 



Acts xiii. 22. 

^ To whom also He gave testimony, and said, I have found David 
the son of Jesse, a man after Mine own heart." 

In speaking of the Saints of God in the Old Testa- 
ment, what shall we say of David ? Of one who though 
he lived nearly three thousand years ago, yet whose 
thoughts and words are with us unto this day — nay, 
all the day long, our familiar companions by day and 
by night. "We hardly know how to speak of him ; 
it is like having to speak of a dear friend or relative, 
or of a saintly father and guardian, when we know 
not what to say, and had rather be silent. We cannot 
hold him apart and judge of him. "We have him so 
deeply lodged within, like a part of our very soids, 
that we cannot take him out of ourselves, hold him up 
and look at him, as we would a picture, or judge of 
him as we would of another man. For such the use 
of the Psalms makes " the sweet Psalmist of Israel '* 
to be to us. God has in an especial manner given 
unto us David as a friend. 
But David is not only an inspired Teacher, he has a 

198 DATXD. 

known history besides, and one of no little interest. 
Let us endeavour to consider bim in tbat ; for as if to 
teacb us that something more is wanted in addition to 
good feelings and good words, God has been pleased 
together with the Psalms to give us an account of the 
life of him that wrote them ; and that of one who was 
not only a minstrel, and a prophet, and a devout wor- 
shipper of God ; but also a soldier, a shepherd, and a 
king ; so as to be an example to every state and con- 
dition. We have of him in an especial manner the 
inner and the outer life as of no other man ; and it is 
especially the life of faith. 

Again ; the history of his life is not only of itself so 
fully told and so engaging ; but it has this remarkable 
circumstance connected with it ; that we have in the 
different occasions of life the very thoughts they gave 
rise to, and the inner heart poured forth before God. 
It is not that he tells us what he did and what he 
thought, as when a person writes a narrative of him- 
self, but much more— the same laid open at the time 
to the God of truth. 

Por instance; we read of his being chosen at an 
early age to play as a minstrel before Saul; the ac- 
count is, " And it came to pass, when an evil spirit 
from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, 
and played with his hand ; so Saul was refreshed, and 
the evil spirit departed from him^" Here we might 
well inquire and wish to know what the wonderful 
strains might have been which the minstrel sung, that 
the evil spirit should depart, and the unhappy king 
find comfort in God. Now though we are not told 
the words and measures which he then played, yet in 

^ 1 Sam. xvi. 2S. 

DAVID. 199 

the Psalms we have the kind of subjects which were 
then upon the harp. It might for instance have been 
the shepherd's own song. "The Lord is my Shep- 
herd, therefore can I lack nothing. He shall feed me 
in a green pasture. Yea, though I walk through the 
valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil." 

Again ; all the circumstances of his contest while 
yet almost a child with the giant Philistine, derive a 
great interest from our having his own heart-words in 
the Psalms, describing the spirit under which it was 
done. "It is not my sword that shall help me?*' 
" It is God that girdeth me with strength of war.'* 
" He maketh my feet like harts' feet." " He teacheth 
mine hands to fight." "Some put their trust in 
chariots, and some in horses ; but we will remember 
the name of the Lord our God*." 

Then next ensues the crowning part of David's life, 
his contest with Saul ; the one adding injury to injury, 
evil to evil, hatred to hatred ; and the other requiting 
all with forgiveness, with benefits and love ; we read 
of his flying from, cave to cave, with some few incidents 
the most beautlAl in the history of mankind; but 
how does all this come forth in the Psalms — his strug- 
gles, his enemies, his faith in God ? " In the Lord 
put I my trust ; how say ye then to my soul, that she 
should flee as a bird unto the hill^?" "I will love 
Thee, O Lord, my strength ; the Lord is my stony 
rock, and my defence *." Then follow his glorious and 
sublime exultations in God. History gives the pic- 
ture ; but in the Psalms the very picture is found to 
live ; it is breathing full of expression ; and the bloom 
of life is fresh upon it. 

a Pb. XX. 7. * Ps. xi. 1. * Ps. xviil. 1. 

200 DATID. 

But the life of David is as yet high and prosperous ; 
he goes forth before God with clean hands, trusting 
and rejoicing; and were this all, the Psalms would 
not be what they now are to the Christian, — for which 
of us has been thus ? But the terrible blast of sin has 
to pass over him, in the bitterness of which he has to 
know the depth of man's wickedness : the blight and 
decay is on the leaf which was so full of promise ; and 
from henceforth there is a deeper, sadder tone. 

We read in the Scripture narrative of his repent- 
ance being accepted of G-od after his great sin ; but it 
is throughout the Psalms that we find the depth and 
extent of that repentance. A dark heavy cloud had 
come for a time between him and his God ; and though 
that cloud became lined with light, yet ever after he 
was as one broken-hearted to the end of his days ; he 
walked near the ground mournfully and heavily, though 
comforted of God. Oh, how does he earnestly long, 
thirst, and faint for the light of Good's countenance to an 
afflicted penitent soul ! how does he forget all sorrows 
in the greatness of that sorrow, that he had offended 
Him! how does he know no fear, but that God 
would take from him His Holy Spirit on account 
of his sin ! " Make me a clean heart, God ; and 
renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away 
from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit 
from me." 

In the anguish of his great sorrow he finds the 
hidden fount of consolation, to which he leads others 
as the chief of mourners, the prince of penitents. It 
is now we know him not as the sinner, not as the 
penitent, but as the forgiven penitent. It is this that 
renders him the pattern to the Christian, and the 
minstrel expressive of his hope. We see in him the 

DAVID. 201 

beauty of Job's expression, who speaks of it as the 
attribute of God, " Who giveth songs in the night *." 
And here it may be observed that faith in God, 
which was the great characteristic in David, was 
shown in the beginning of his life by his overcoming 
every enemy, but in the latter part by his repentance ; 
which was so remarkable, so thorough and entire, that 
it evinced, it may be, even a greater faith than his 
youthful piety; as it required greater faith to rise 
and adhere to G^d, nor let go His love, when over- 
come himself, than when he overcame others. Por 
such repentance is more difficult, more rare, and 
therefore more a proof of faith and love than inno- 
cence itself. Thousands and tens of thousands fall to 
one that thus rises after his fall. To fall and to rise 
again proves the Divine life even more than never to 
have fallen ; to die and to be made alive is greater 
than the former life. Not that repentance is equal to 
innocence, but that to have been in the toils of Satan, 
to have been among the dead, and then to have 
escaped is the greatest of miracles. To have been ill 
with a sickness in which most die, and to have re- 
covered, is not so happy as not to have been sick at 
all, but it is a greater proof of strength. Por the lust 
by which he fell was but a transient passion, says St. 
Augustine, not the abiding inmate of his bosom but a 
stranger ; not as with Solomon the corruption of the 
heart ^. And his repentance was as great and signal 
as was his sin ; it went through his whole heart and 
life. It was then that he found out the depth of his 
own natural sinfulness, such as it had been even 
before his fall ; he was set as it were to search out the 
dark comers of his heart, where such a serpent could 

» Job XXXV. 10. • Vol. iii. pp. 94, 96. 

202 DATH). 

have harboured, which before hid itself from God and 
from the light. " Behold," he says, " I was shapen in 
wickedness, and in sin hath my mother conceived me. 
But lo. Thou requirest truth in the inward parts." 
Yet his hope in God was equal to his grief, for he 
adds, " Thou shalt wash me." 

Then comes all the tale of his outward afflictions ; 
his grief for his child, a pattern for all mourners, 
fasting and praying while there was hope, and when 
that hope had ceased, resigned to God. And then 
his yet far more heavy cause for mourning. "When he 
lost an innocent child he was comforted ; but at the 
death of Absalom, he could find no comfort but in the 
love of God, And then, "not in evil dejection," says 
St. Augustine, " but in pious humiliation, he accepted 
the chastening from the Lord; submitting to it as 
medicine ; not returning evil for evil, but having a 
heart prepared to follow the will of God^" 

The account of his grief for Absalom is indeed most 
affecting, but it has a most sacred interest in his own 
words in the Psalms, " Why art thou so heavy, my 
Boul, and why art thou so disquieted within me ? O 
put thy trust in God : for I will yet thank Him, which 
is the help of my countenance, and my God *." But 
why in Scripture is heard that lamentable cry, so 
emphatically repeated, " O Absalom, my son, my son!" 
by the pen of inspiration engraven on the rock for 
ever? but that Christ's own voice was in that cry 
and His bitter cup, for His own Israel that had risen 
against Him, and sought His life. 

Thus was David's repentance deepened, extended, 
perfected. Indeed it has been said that the expression 

' In Ps. cxlii. vol. iv. p. 226*3, and see vol. iii. pp. 94, 95. 
' Ps. TLiii, xliii. 

DAVID. 208 

of his being "a man after Gk)d's own heart'" arose 
from God's foreseeing the sincerity of his repentance, 
whereby he is in the number of those of whom he 
himself says, *^ Blessed is he whose unrighteousness is 
forgiven, and whose sin is covered *." Because it was 
the will of God to choose in Christ those that are sin- 
cerely penitent, there being none just before God. 
David was according to God's own heart as a pattern 
of this Evangelical repentance, and the humiliation of 
those that are accepted in the Beloved. This is set 
before us in the 51st Psalm. 

By others * it has been supposed that David was the 
man after God's own heart, from his love of his enemies 
and forgiveness of injuries ; and indeed we are told by 
our Lord Himself, that it is by this love more espe- 
cially we bear the likeness of our Father which is 
in Heaven. But perhaps we should be wrong in 
limiting the character which God has given us of 
David either to this or to that ; it was not in his re- 
pentance only, nor in his forgiveness of injuries, that he 
was the " man after God's own heart," but in some- 
thing more extensive, of which these were but the 
parts. His love for his enemy was fulfilling the law of 
Christ before that law was given — for it was the " new 
commandment " which Christ brought with His Gos- 
pel ; but it was a love secretly shed abroad in his heart 
by the love of God. Loving God, and feeling that he 
had need of His mercy, and also, as expressed through- 
out the Psalms, that he should obtain that mercy, he 
was disposed to love and forgiveness. He loved much 

9 1 Sam. xiii. 14 ; Acts xiii. 22. 

* Ps. xxxii. 1, 2. See St. Aug. vol. vi. p. 234. 

* As St. Hilary, St. Bernard. 

204 SAYID. 

because he had much hope of mercj ; and loving much 
he felt he had much i^»4 of forgiveness. In the cases 
both of Saul and of Shimei his forgiveness is expressly 
connected with the love of God, and with his own 
trust of God's goodness to himself*. In these there- 
fore he was after Grod's own heart as accepted in 

But the foundation and the crown of all in David 
was his faith in God. All may be resolved into this ; 
all the fruits were from this, or rather this was the 
fruit of all ; begun and ended in deeper and yet deeper 
humiliation as he came more and more to know God's 
mercies in Christ. This faith it is that marks his first 
history, when he stands before the armies of Israel as 
the unarmed boy, the champion of God ; and then it 
incidentally appears that this was but the progressive 
advancement of what had already gone before ; he had 
already proved his armour, his armour of faith in God. 
" Thy servant," he says, " slew both the lion and the 
bear." " And Saul," observes St. Augustine, " per- 
ceived that it was of God *." 

It is remarkable throughout how this his great faith 
was in the keeping of humility, and how he studied to 
preserve it so ; for we have no more beautiful descrip- 
tion of this temper than in the 131st Psalm, " Lord, I 
am not high-minded ; I have no proud looks ; I refrain 
my soul and keep it low, like as a weaned child." 
Thus when Samuel first came to his father's house, he 
was forgotten and set aside by his own family as of no 
account. And afterwards when sent to his brothers 
in the army, great as he was in the sight of God, he 
was little amongst men ; for how contemptuously does 

* See 1 Sftm. xxvi. 24; 2 Sam. xvi. 12. « Vol. v. p. 230. 

DAYID. 205 

EUab, bis eldest brother, speak of biin P Again, when 
aften^ards his praise was in ijLe mouth of all — the 
victorious soldier and the destirfed king — he overcomes 
Saul as much bj his humility as by his forgiving 
charity. " After whom dost thou pursue P " he says ; 
" after a dead dog, after a flea* P" In the service of 
God, he says to Michal, " I will be base in mine own 
sight*." Thus humility was preserved by his attri- 
buting every thing to God ; the evil blast of pride 
touched not his spirit because it was strong in God ; 
thus his slaying the lion, and the bear, and the Philis- 
tine, he assigns to God only. "Thou comest to 
me," he says, "with a sword and a shield ; but I come 
to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts ^" " He put 
his life in his hand," said Jonathan of him to his father 
Saul; it was no presumption, but a venturing ail 
from holy confidence in God. And this will appear 
the more strongly by the temptation to the contrary 
which assailed him in his latter years, when he num- 
bered the people. How contrary was this thought to 
the usual grace of his character, and to what he had so 
often expressed in the Psalms, of all his strength 
being not in armiee, but in God P 

Such then is the meaning of the term, the " man 
after God's own heart," which is the testimony of God 
Himself to the character of David ; one that thought 
as God thinks, willed as God wills ; one therefore on 
whom was set the especial love of God : and he has 
through all generations the praise of God ; the best 
thing found in the best of succeeding kings was that 
they should be as their father David. "When we first 

» 1 Sam. xxiv. 14. • 2 Sam. vi. 22. 

7 1 Sam. xvii. 37. 45. 

lUTii). 207 

baih ^ lakers of D&rid ;*' tber tbat jwe ic HiiLftioiie 
can izziderm<8iud '^ tUf BoDf of AUitesb mmI aiUge launb :" 
no man if irordir to t^)exi the jbook ai«G ti#e Mfiec 
seali, bot ^ tike Laon of Juda. tbe Ho^n ifi Iht^ic .'' 
The asointkig of 1^ kix^ hach crverfitiwx u- ibe ffiu.- 
itrel and the soldier; all t^betie «a^ foubC it CttniR; 
and being in Him ther partake of Hii twrtmitwi^. 

Thus then it is vith the ChntAaut^ vs/^ m fniy^n^ 
sented as a eoldkr, ret vithal as prof4aet aeuc |)m«s : 
all war withoot, within the melodj of tLe !$fm^ 
speaking in Psalms and spiritoal songs; witlKMiS k 
sorrow, trouble, and danger, the lion and the bear, tlte 
giant Philistine, Saul, t^oeg^ Ahithopbel, and Absflt* 
lom ; but within there is peace and joy in God, the oil 
of gladness, the b'ght of God's presence, the sense of 
His nearness, the shield of faith, the sword of the 
Spirit, the good Shepherd leading to the waters of 

Such is to us '^ the sweet Psalmist of Israel.*' And 
whom should God have chosen but the man after 
His own heart, — as one whose praises and prayers 
should be such as to convey the outpouring of the 
Christian soul unto God ? Nay, the Psalms are almost 
like the Prayer Book, if we may so speak, of our Blessed 
Saviour Himself. We have in the Psalms all the con- 
tests of the real life of David, as a minstrel, as a 
soldier, as a penitent, as an afflicted father ; we have 

Iieart in the Psalms, and in and through all he 
e Anointed of God. 
remarkable thai when the anointing of David 
Prophet Samuel it first described, the account 
ediately added of his minstrelsy. After the 
• B«r. XV. 3 ; V. 6. 

206 DAVID. 

behold him, he is as a shepherd boy amid his flock at 
Bethlehem, probably the same spot where the shep- 
herds afterwards heard the Angelic song. By night 
and day, in Psalms and songs of praise, he exercised 
himself in the law of the Lord ; like a tree by the 
wat^r side, about to bring forth his fruit in due season. 
" With his whole heart," it is said, " he sang songs, 
and loved Him that made him ®." Nor without toil 
and danger was his faith exercised, while he was thus 
trained in heavenly wisdom apart from the world. 
The eye of Q-od was on his heart, and the remarkable 
expression concerning him is, " I have found David 
My servant." His eyes that are in every place, 
beholding the evil and the good, rested on one, found 
him out as we would a great treasure. And when 
Samuel came he was the one chosen of God, though 
little esteemed of his own, like Him of Whom 
it is said, "For neither did His brethren believe 
on Him." And then he comes forth as a pattern to 
the Christian of all time, in whom perfect love casteth 
out fear. He put off Saul's armour, which is as it 
were the old law, and put on the new man, which is 
j&ith in Christ. He went forth " unarmed," says St. 
Ambrose, " in the sight of man, but armed with God- 
head." The anointing of Samuel was stirred within him 
to this kingly prelude of power. He goes forth with 
the sling and the stone — like Him who by the Word of 
God overcomes the great enemy — ^like Him who says, 
" I looked and there was none to help, and I wondered 
that there was none to uphold. Therefore Mine own 
arm brought salvation *." 
Thus no one can interpret the Psalms but He Who 

' Ecclus. xlvii. 8. * Isa. xliii. 5. 

DAVTD. 207 

hath " the keys of David ;" they that are in Him alone 
can understand " the SoDg of Moses and of the Lamb ;'* 
no man is worthy to open the Book and the seven 
seals, but "the Lion of Juda, the Root of David ^" 
The anointing of the king hath overflown to the min- 
strel and the soldier; all these are found in Christ, 
and being in Him they partake of His anointiug. 

Thus then it is with the Christiau, who is repre- 
sented as a soldier, yet withal as prophet and priest ; 
all war without, within the melody of the Spirit, 
speakiug in Psalms and spiritual songs; without is 
sorrow, trouble, and dauger, the lion and the bear, the 
giant Philistine, Saul, Doeg, Ahithophel, and Absa- 
lom ; but within there is peace and joy in God, the oil 
of gladness, the light of God's presence, the sense of 
His nearness, the shield of faith, the sword of the 
Spirit, the good Shepherd leading to the waters of 

Such is to us " the sweet Psalmist of Israel." And 
whom should God have chosen but the man after 
His own heart, — as one whose praises and prayers 
should be such as to convey the outpouring of the 
Christian soul unto God ? Nay, the Psalms are almost 
like the Prayer Book, if we may so speak, of our Blessed 
Saviour Himself. We have in the Psalms all the con- 
tests of the real life of David, as a minstrel, as a 
soldier, as a penitent, as an afflicted father ; we have 
all his heart in the Psalms, and in and through all he 
is as the Anointed of God. 

It is remarkable that when the anointiug of David 
by the Prophet Samuel is first described, the account 
is immediately added of his minstrelsy. After the 

* Rev. XV. 3 5 V. 6. 

208 DATIB, 

anointing it is said, " and the Spirit of the Lord came 
upon David from that day forward ;" and then imme- 
diately is introduced, apparently out of the order of 
time, the mention of his playing upon the harp before 
Saul, and of the evil spirit departing from the unhappy 
king '. The mention of his music together with that 
of the Spirit being with him, seems to indicate that 
this his playing was of a Divine character ; as the sound 
of the harp was to the Prophet Elisha ; it partook of 
the anointing of God within, the expressiveness and 
the impressiveness of the Spirit of God that was upon 
his heart. This the first mention of David appears to 
be a sign and token of what he should hereafter be 
unto the end of the world ; that in all the ills which the 
evil spirit raises against us without, or brings on our 
mind within, the Psalms should come to us as a fresh 
watery breeze in a desert. That to sing or chaunt 
the Psalms of David should be the delight of child- 
hood, the protection of youth, the strength of man- 
hood, the comfort of old age. 

Happy is he who knows them best, says them over, 
and makes them the vehicles of his own thoughts conti- 
nually to Heaven, so that the statutes of God become 
songs in the house of his pilgrimage. There is no 
companion of a sick bed, no preparation for death 
equal to the Psalms of David ; in the many troubles 
of life we find therein the soothing voice of the Great 
Comforter; when wars and dissensions are abroad, 
the heart is engaged by the description of them, in 
order that it may be led on to its true peace ; all our 
temptations are entered into in order to show us a way 
to escape. " In the multitude of the sorrows " which 

« 1 Sam. xvi. 13, 14. 23. 

DAVID. 209 

are in the heart we are reminded that God numbers 
them all, and His comforts refresh the soul. There is 
no time, no occasion, no age, no condition, but will 
find herein a sympathizing friend, like an angelic 
guardian, or visitant from Heaven. 



Nehemiah xiii. 26. 

"Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet 
among many nations was there no king like him, who was 
beloved of his God." 

Thebe are three books in the Holy Scriptures written 
by Solomon, the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song 
of Songs. It may appear remarkable that one who 
fell so grievously should contribute at all to the Book 
of God, nor is there any other instance of the kind ; 
but his sad history adds a peculiar weight of warning 
to his words : nor are there any books more strongly- 
marked by the Fioger of Q-od. The very order in 
which they occur is instructive * ; and the three books 
together make up a perfect and impressive lesson. 

In the Proverbs we have all practical wisdom taught 
us by one gifted beyond all men with understanding, 
as of all natural things, so especially of judgment in 
life and morals, the knowledge " to discern between 
good and evil'." To this is added the Ecclesiastes, of 

^ St. Bernard in Cant. Cant ' 1 Kings iil 9. 


the vanity of all that is confined to this life alone ; and 
then in an instructive order, after these two books, 
that which is spiritual and divine. Thus are we taught 
that to one first exercised in morals and prudence, and 
then learning in mortification of spirit that happiness 
is not to be found in this world, follows the Song of 
Solomon. " My beloved is mine, and I am His ; He 
feedeth among the lilies," i.e., among the pure-hearted 
of the earth, " until the day break, and the shadows 
flee away \" Such is the Christian's course towards 
perfection; "He hath set my feet upon a rock and 
ordered my goings," and then " He hath put a new 
song in my mouth," the Song of Songs, which is 
as " a garden enclosed " and " a fountain sealed," 
to all but the pure in heart. 

And who, even humanly speaking, from his own 
experience could have been so powerful a witness to 
declare unto us the vanity of life as this wise, and 
rich, and great king ? He had given unto him abun- 
dantly all that the heart could desire of earthly good, 
and from the wonderful reach of his knowledge could 
look before and after to the bounds of human things, 
and yet felt within that aching void which nothing 
could fill but God. And then, considering the nature 
of those temptations by which he fell, how impressive 
becomes the Song of Solomon ! He was ensnared by 
the love of strange women ; and then — the wonder- 
ful love and the wonderful judgment of God ! — in that 
the deep, dark emptiness and misery of heart which 
this occasioned, he speaks, as Job says, " wonderful 
things that he knew not;" he had infused into his 
understanding by the Spirit of God a sense that human 

» SongofSol.ii. 16, 17. 

p 2 

212 SOLOliOK. 

love, even in its purest and best estate, was but an 
image of the union of the soul with God and of the 
pleasures which are at His right hand for evermore. 
It was given him to see " in a glass darkly," that which 
none but the pure in heart could know. For in that 
Song the Heavenly Bridegroom by earthly figures 
veils His face, as Moses did when he came from the 
Mount, so that none but they that are worthy can 
behold. And indeed in the books of Solomon the 
Spirit of Q-od speaks to us Christians ; and therefore 
ofben with an intent and meaning far beyond what 
the writer himself could have known. In the very- 
opening of the Proverbs, St. Augustine observes that 
Christ is spoken of. " My son, if sinners entice thee, 
saying, Let us lie in wait for blood, consent thou 
not*.'* And when passages from the Proverbs are 
referred to in the New Testament, a new light and a 
new sense is often given them. 

There is also another great dignity attached to 
Solomon in the Church of God, that he is an especial 
type and figure of Christ ; as the promised Son of 
David, the King of the Jews, on the throne of his 
father, the Builder of the Temple, the Prince of Peace ; 
for the name Solomon signifies " the Peaceable." " I 
will give him rest," said God to David, " from all his 
enemies round about ; for his name shall be Solomon ; 
and I will give peace unto Israel in his days *." All 
such promises to Solomon, as throughout the 72nd 
Psalm, have their true fulfilment in One greater than 
Solomon, in Christ alone '. Our Lord pointed out to 
the Jews that He Himself was both the Son of David 

* Prov. i. 2. » 1 Chron. xxii. 9. 

< St. Aug. CiTitas Dei. vol. vii. p. 768 ; vol. iv. p. 1061. Euarr. 
in Ps. Ixxii. 

BOLOHOiir. 213 

and the Son of God. He is " the Peaceable,'* for 
there is no peace but in Him ; He is our peace ; it is 
He that gives peace, peace in this world in anticipation 
of that perfect peace when the last enemy shall be 
destroyed, and nothing more shall disturb that peace. 
He is the true Solomon to Whom judgment is given, 
and Who searcheth the hearts to know what true love 
is. He is the Framer of that true Temple whose 
Builder and Maker is G-od ; building up living stones 
into that spiritual House, without noise, all fitted and 
prepared, each one for his place, to make an habitation 
meet for the indwelling of God. For all this is being 
fulfilled in His visible Church, since that time when 
at His Eesurrection He sat down on the right hand of 
God, according to the promise made to David in the 
110th Psalm, " Sit Thou on My right hand, until I 
make Thine enemies Thy footstool.'* From that time 
He is our Peace amidst the wars and troubles of this 
world, Himself our Best, extending His kingdom 
" from the flood," the Jordan of His Baptism, as St. 
Augustine explains it, " unto the world's end ^." 

To this must be added one sad reflection ; that as 
Solomon sets forth in figure the visible Church of God, 
and the wisdom of the world, its riches, and honour, 
and power flowing into it, and all the kingdoms of the 
earth, the Queen of the South, the Kings of Arabia 
and Saba bringing gifts; so does Solomon seem to 
represent to us its falling away in these latter 
times ; the visible Church, when it has become great 
and established, falling into idolatries, ensnared by the 
many arts and temptations of wealth, the *^ seducing 
spirits " of the last days ; and thus by the righteous 

' Ps. Ixxii. 8. 


judgment of Q-od becoming broken and divided, as the 
kingdom of Solomon was on account of his ''heart 
being turned away from God^" 

It was beholding this, the corruption of the Church, 
that St. John in the Apocalypse " wondered," he says, 
"with a great astonishment." And early writers, 
though they saw a figure of the Church's increase in 
the peace and prosperity of Solomon's kingdom, yet 
did not thus anticipate a resemblance in its decay and 
fall ; it has been the sad experience of after ages which 
has added this. 

Thus Israel which was trained by temporal promises, 
was given to see that the highest pinnacle and crown of 
all that the world esteems is not all, as shown in their 
one great chosen king, the heir of the temporal pro- 
mises ; something more was needed. As St. Augustine 
has observed, the Jews were thus taught that this was 
not that true Son of David, that they might look forward 
to another Solomon in whom the promises were ful- 
filled, and something higher and better in the Heir of 
the kingdom. Thus, like the false mother in the Judg- 
ment of Solomon, Israel after the flesh overwhelmed 
with her own weight and killed her own son while she 
negligently slumbered*, and then claimed for herself 
the Son of the true mother, and says in envy, divide it 
with the sword that it be not thine nor mine ; but the 
true Israel, that which beholds God, as the name 
imports, in losing her own Son hath received Him 
again as alive from the dead. Love is ever the sign 
of the true mother, the true Church * ; the false church 
is for herself, is full of envy and self-seeking ; the true 

» 1 Kings xi. 9—11. » 1 Kings iii. 19. 

* St. Aug. Serm. x, vol. v. pp. 92—100. 

BOLOMOir. 215 

Church anxious only for the salvation of the children 
of God, willing with Moses and St. Paul for herself to 
perish rather than they. And alas ! in Solomon him- 
self, for want of that true love, how was Christ 
divided? For "what agreement hath the Temple of 
God with idols?" 

And now let us take home to ourselves the sad 
history and example of Solomon. He was chosen of 
God, and afterwards rejected as Saul had been ; he was 
full of wisdom and understanding, and what is far 
more, of holiness and goodness. There is perhaps no 
one of whom the early promise of good seemed so 
decisive : when first mentioned it is said, " And the 
Lord loved him*,*' which seems to indicate an early 
growing in grace as in God's favour. And after he 
came to the throne : " And Solomon loved the Lord, 
walking in the statutes of David his father'." "And 
the Lord his God was with him, and magnified him 
exceedingly *." And then follows his prayer for wis- 
dom, and that with all humility ; for he says as his 
plea, " I am but a little child ; I know not how to go 
out or come in*." And the wisdom for which he 
asks is not the knowledge of the stars or of the 
secrets of nature, but "an understanding heart to 
judge Thy people ; that I may discern between good 
and bad." As the same is elsewhere expressed by 
him, " Give me wisdom that sitteth by Thy throne," 
" that I may know what is pleasing unto Thee "... 
" for she shall lead me soberly in my doings," " so 
shall my works be acceptable*." And even for a 
higher wisdom than this, " the things that are in 

» 2 Sara. xii. 24. ' 1 Kings iii. 3. 

* 2 Chron. i. 1. » 1 Kings iii. 7. 

^ Wisdom ix. 


Heaven, who liath searched out . . . except Thou give, 
wisdom, and send Thy Holy Spirit from above." 
Thus was it the very best wisdom for which he 
sought, and he sought for it in the very best way, not 
by study, but by prayer, as the especial gift of G-od. 
Por it is " a point of \^isdom,*' he says, " to know 
whose gift she was''." What can be higher than the 
account of wisdom which he himself gives in the third 
chapter of Proverbs ? " All the things that thou canst 
desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of 
days is in her right hand ; and in her left riches and 
honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all 
her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them 
that lay hold on her." It is evidently of religion 
itself that he speaks ; and his actions and words indi- 
cate holiness as well as wisdom ; instance his care in 
the building of God's House, of all the appointments 
connected with it; and the great holiness of his 
prayers in the dedication of it *. And the acceptance 
and express approval of all by Almighty God. 

Add to which, of the Queen of the South our Lord 
speaks, as if &om a desire of holiness and goodness 
she came from the ends of the earth "to hear the 
wisdom of Solomon," attracted by their report : and it 
was by his worship and the ordering of his people in 
religion that she was overcome with a devout wonder 
and astonishment •. Indeed, he was given not only to 
set forth the fulness of love, but also the fulness of 
knowledge, which is to be laid up in the Church of 
God ; " there came of all people to hear his wisdom 
from all kings of the earth;" "for God gave him 

' Wisdom viii. 21. ■ As 1 Kings viii. 27. 

' St. Luke xi. 31, and 1 King» x. 1—0. 

80L0M0K. 217 

wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and large- 
ness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea-shore. 
And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of the chil- 
dren of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt." 
And the wise of the world are mentioned as not to be 
compared with him. " For he was wiser than all 
men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and 
Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol \" Thus as 
Daniel was wiser than the astrologers of Babylon, and 
Moses than the magicians of Egjpt, so Solomon in 
his largeness of understanding beyond Egypt and the 
children of the East seems to indicate " the treasures 
of wisdom and knowledge which are hid in Christ," the 
deep things of the Spirit of God ; that those mysteries 
beyond all understanding which are revealed of God 
in His Church, surpass all the marvels of physical 
science, and the discoveries made by its advances, when 
in the latter days " many shall run to and fro, and know- 
ledge shall increase," ''and none of the wicked shall un- 
derstand, but the wise shall understand ;" and " some 
of them of understanding shall fall'." Wisdom so 
expressly given of God must have been true wisdom. 

To what then are we to attribute the great change 
in Solomon ? It has been said, as by St. Augustine, that 
he was more injured by prosperity than profited by 
wisdom. Yet we may observe, that his falling away is 
not in Scripture attributed to his wealth, his power, 
and honour. And perhaps we may consider that as 
these were given him by Almighty God, not of his 
own seeking, but as a reward for his prayer for wis- 
dom, that God who reserves to Himself' the power to 

1 Kings iy. 30, 31 . ' Dan. xi. 35 ; xii 10. 

» St Matt. xix. 26. 


counteract the evils of wealth, did by his great wisdom 
preserve in him an antidote for these great tempta- 
tions, the gold of Ophir, the admiration of the 
Queen of Sheba, and of all the kings of the earth, the 
subjection of all his kingdoms. One express cause 
is assigned for it: "But king Solomon loved many- 
strange women." "Many," that was against the 
Law; and "strange," that was against the Law*: 
and this perverted his heart to idols. It was as the 
sin of Adam, of Samson, of David. His very wisdom, 
and the light he had received from Gk>d aggravated 
his condemnation, "And the Lord was angry with 
Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord, 
which had appeared unto him twice, and had com- 
manded him concerning this thing*." Solomon was 
very highly favoured ; he comes before us almost like 
one of the saints of G-od in his earlier years : but he 
needed the great mark of Christ. Solomon was not 
afflicted. Great is the holiness expressed in his 
prayers ; " Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens 
cannot contain Thee ; how much less this house which 
I have built * ! " but there is no humiliation and con- 
fession of sins, as in Job, in Daniel, in David. There 
is a secret knowledge which is hid from the wise and 
revealed by the Father unto babes; and this is the 
mystery of the Cross ; it is made known to Christ's 
little ones ; of whom as clothed with His righteous- 
ness it may be said, that " Solomon in all his glory was 
not arrayed like one of these." 

Alas ! how like is it to the case of that rich young 
man in the Gospels, of whom it is said that our Lord 

* Deut. xviiL I7. * 1 Kings xi. 9. 

« 2 Chron. vi. 18. 


"looked upon lum" and "loved him." He had kept 
the commandments &om his youth, but laden with 
possessions he was not willing to take up the Cross ; 
he was too big for the narrow door of life. And what 
a warning to ourselves, that we take not the many 
signs of God's love which we find about us, nor 
even the bright light of His countenance within the 
soul, for any sure indication of our final perseverance 
and acceptance. All his wisdom, all his greatness and 
power, nay, all his holiness and good deeds pass away 
" as the dew of Hermon," or the morning rays that 
life up the hill of Sion ; and are but as a sad history to 
add force to those words ; — " What shall it profit a man, 
if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul P'* 

We cannofc indeed conclude that Solomon himself 
did not at last repent ; but this has always been con- 
sidered by the Church as very doubtful, to say the 
least. All we know is, that Scripture has fully made 
known to us his falling away from Q-od, but has said 
nothing of his repentance. The very silence is awful 
and impressive. And what has he left on record? 
He to whom the wisest of the world yield the palm of 
wisdom, before whom " the children of the East," the 
mighty names of the sages of old pale away and hide 
their lights ? He has left to all the world treasures 
of Divine wisdom, and with them the warning of his 
own folly. 

" They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of 
the firmament ;" but he seems as a star fallen from 
Heaven, or as a " wandering star " which has lost its 
course ; and become the feiurful token of sadness and 

How shall we speak of Solomon? We too from 


the utmost parts of the earth, like the Queen of 
Sheha, are drawn to him, our hearts and affections are 
moved towards one of whom we learn so much, whose 
Divine sayings are in our heart of hearts, whose 
wisdom is our guide. We cannot bear to think that 
he should have fallen. "We are moved by it as by the 
loss of a friend or instructor, and are disposed to 
leave it in silence with G-od, saying, in those touching 
words spoken over the prophet that delivered the wit- 
ness of God, and then himself disobeyed, — " Alas, 
my brother!'* 

What more melancholy than the fall of one so great 
— BO wise ? What words could have been spoken to 
him more powerful than his own ? What eloquence 
could describe his fall with more feeling and beauty 
than his own words? What could more powerfully 
paint the loveliness of that holiness from which he 
fell ? What the overpowering sweetness of that Divine 
love which he was contented to give up to feed on 
ashes? Who can describe the temptations to those 
very sins by which he was ensnared in a more search- 
ing manner than he has done ? Who can express as he 
has done the vanity of all things else but the one thing 
needful, which is keeping the commandments of God ? 
Hath he not taught us unto the end of time how " the 
path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth 
more and more unto the perfect day?" How hath 
he "forsaken the guide of his youth, and forgotten 
the covenant of his God ' ! " How hath he " gone to 
the house that inclineth unto death, and her paths 
unto the deadM" How hath he been as one that 

y Prov. ii. 17. • Prov. ii. 17, 18. 

soLOMOir. 221 

" knoweth not that the dead are there ; and that her 
guests are in the depths of hell'!*' How hath he 
been " holden with the cords of his sins,*' till " his 
own iniquities " have taken him away *! Tea, the fools 
themselves of his own Book of Proverbs shall take up 
a taunting proverb against him and say, " Art thou 
also become weak as we P art thou become like unto 
us*?" How must his own sweet and divine words 
sound to him like music of Paradise to the lost 
spirits, yea, as songs of Heaven would come back 
to fallen angels in sad remembrance ; of "the eyes of 
the Lord pondering the ways of men ', of doing with 
our might our appointed task, " for there is no work, 
nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave ;'* of " God 
bringing every work into judgment *.*' 

It is very awful to think how God may use men as 
instruments of good, that His Spirit may teach them, 
and through them teach others, and guide them to 
the living fountains of waters, yet they themselves at 
last fail of the prize of their high calling. What a 
warning for fear; yet even so it was that St. Paul 
himself, who had been taken up into the third Heaven 
and there heard unspeakable words, might have left 
us those treasures of Divine wisdom, yet been himself 
a cast-away ; and so it would have been if he had not 
kept his body in subjection. 

» Prov. ix. 18. ' Prov. v. 22. 

* Isa. xiv. 10. * Prov. v. 21. 

^ Eccles. ix. 10; xii. 14. 



Jambs t. 17* 
^ Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are." 

Thehe is something very wonderful about the history 
and character of Elijah : it seems hardly like that of 
other men: his being sustained by ravens; his tra- 
velling forty days without food, after the cake given 
him by an angel ; his being carried to Heaven in a 
whirlwind; his appearing again at the Transfigura- 
tion ; the intimations of his being the messenger of 
Christ's coming ; his appearing and disappearing 
amongst men, like an angel with messages from God, 
according to that apprehension expressed by Obadiah, 
** as soon as I am gone from thee, the Spirit of the Lord 
shall carry thee whither I know not ;" his very name, 
more like that of the angels — as Michael, Gtibriel, and 
Eaphael, — Elijah^ or God the Lord ; the expression he 
applies to himself almost like that of a ministering, 
spirit, " the Lord of hosts, before whom I stand ^ ;*' 

1 1 Kings xriiL 12. !&• 

ELIJAH. 223 

his shutting up the Heavens over a whole country, so 
that trees languished, beasts perished, birds drooped, 
men looked up in desolation, at the voice of a man ; 
his again opening the skies and raining down joy and 
gladness ; the mode of his treating mankind, as if the 
man were lost in the messenger of the Most High — 
as to the widow of Zarephath who was dying of 
hunger, he said, " Go and make me a cake first," thus 
exercising and calling forth her extraordinary faith 
and charity, like our Lord Himself was wont to do in 
those for whom He wrought miracles. His standing 
forth and claiming deference as a man of God, even 
such, that to lay hands on him was to rise against God ; 
" If I be a man of God, then let fire come down *," as 
did that avenging fire on the two companies that 
came to take him from king Ahaziah, the son of 
Ahab ; his having mercy on the third, sparing him 
and being gracious to him. Add too his casting his 
mantle on Elisha, his acceptance of him and his words, 
" if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall 
be so unto thee." All these things, and his very man- 
ner of speaking, are like those of one whose individual 
character is lost in the messenger of the Most High. 
And thus it is said of him in the Apocryphal Scrip- 
tures, Elias " stood up as fire, and his word burned as 
a lamp." An expression like that used respecting 
angels, that He maketh His ** ministers as a fiame of 
fire ;" not to allude to that of God Himself that He 
is "a consuming fire*." "Blessed are they," it is 
added, " that saw thee and slept in love *." 

Thus then was there something as it were angel-like 

> 2 Kings L 10. > Heb. i. 7 ; xii. 9. 

^ Ecclus; xlviii. 1. 

224 ELIJAH. 

and Divine about one of whom St. James says, " he was 
a man subject to like passions as we are ;" the word is 
the same in the original as that which St. Paul uses 
to those who would offer sacrifices to him as if he 
were a God ; " we also are men of like passions with 
you*.*' Even this Elijah then was like ourselves, 
clothed about with this soul of human passions in the 
regulation of which lies our mysterious probation ; he 
was tried as we are, even as you and I have been : 
thus by the circumstances of mortal life his faith was 
exercised, tried, perfected; he might have become 
like many others have done, might have become as 
an evil spirit among men, a tempter, an apostate, 
a seducer, a Balaam, a Oehazi, a Judas ; but by faith 
be became what he was, till like as he changed at last 
the garment of hair for the clothing of fire and the 
whirlwind, so his earthly passions became Divine graces, 
wrapping him around with Divine affections as with 
the whirlwind and fiery chariot of the Spirit of God, 
which lifted up his soul toward Heaven. If therefore 
he was of like passions with ourselves, in like condi- 
tion of trial, let us ask what that his character was. 

The first mention of him is this, " And Elijah the 
Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead ;" thus 
he comes before us as a man like ourselves, he was 
one of the inhabitants of that country, of Mount 
Gilead, he was but as one among them ; no external 
difference to put him apart. As the potter is at work 
forming many vessels of the like clay, but one turns 
out at last very different from others ; thus it is in 
any country or neighbourhood, the hand of God is at 
work, the Spirit is moulding souls \ one turns out a 

' bfiotoiraOiif, Acts xir. ]5^ ' Jer. xviil 6. 

XLUAH. 225 

chosen veBsel for use or honour, while another k 

But we wish to know something more particular 
respecting him, — what was his early life, his disposition, 
his circumstances. Of these nothing is told us ; but 
in this silence of Scripture respecting Mias we may 
have this clue to guide our inquiries. So much is 
said of Elias being as it were one with John the 
Baptist, that we may reasonably infer that in their 
whole course there was something similar, and perhaps 
in their natural character also ; and this, as far as it 
goes, is borne out by the history ; the outline of both 
are alike, and what is wanting for the filling up of one 
may be supplied by the other. Thus we hear nothing 
of the birth and childhood of Elijah ; but we may infer 
that he was as the Baptist, like one set apart ; that in 
the wilderness, ^' the mountain of Gilead," he was 
reared until his "shewing forth unto Israel;*' there 
is a like solitude about his appearance as a prophet ; 
no father or mother are mentioned, no child, or friend; 
whereas even Elisha had his yoke of oxen, a father 
and mother to bid adieu to, a servant G^hazi in 
attendance on him, the sons of the prophets in con- 
yerse with him ; but the mention of Elijah is at in- 
tervals, as one appearing in peopled neighbourhoods, 
no one knew from whence ; not as Jeremiah, not as 
Moses, Samuel, and others ; but in the desert, on the 
hill top — seen and recognized as by surprise in the 
hairy garment of the prophet, the solitary of God, as 
one without scrip or purse, even, it may be, as He who 
had "not where to lay His head," having food to eat 
which man wot not of. Thus it may have been, that in 
the wilderness, in triak known to himself only, by the 


"226 :blijah. 

secret communings of the Spirit of God was his faith 
formed and nourished. 

And again in character; — there appears in Elijah 
something of that which is so peculiar in the holj 
Baptist; reared in severity, mortified and separate 
from the world, — and therefore so calculated to witness 
against it,— yet there appears in John a singular gen- 
tleness to others ; accommodating to their modes of 
life with a considerate fellow-feeling for their infirm- 
ities and temptations. Thus with Herod what sweet- 
ness was there mixed with sternness, so that "he 
heard him gladly," and " did many things " because 
of that very Saint whom he shut up in prison. Thus 
Ahab spoke of Elijah as " hast thou found me, O mine 
enemy?" yet he complied at his warnings, made a 
show of repentance, and " did many things because of 
him.** And if the Baptist from the wilderness is 
found in the palace of the king ; so Elijah girded him- 
self as an attendant before the chariot of Ahab, and 
hastened before him as the messenger of gladness 
unto the city of Jezreel. And in like manner he 
went without fear even into the palace of Ahaziah. 

Thus was there in both the remarkable example of 
perfect love that casteth out fear. In both the same 
hatred of hypocrisy ; the same impatience of wicked- 
ness in high places. And in the voice of the Baptist, — 
saying to the Pharisees, O generation of vipers, who 
hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come ?" — 
we may discern that great Prophet who slew the Priests 
of Baal by the brook Kishon. On one occasion indeed 
we find in Elijah that which seems especially to mark 
one " of like passions with ourselves,'* when the coun- 
tenance of God seemed withdrawn and he was troubled. 

ELIJAH. 227 

We may not conclude that there was any falter- 
ing of human infirmity in the Baptist when about 
to meet death from Herodias, he sent, saying, " Art 
Thou the Christ?" yet in outward appearance the 
occasion might seem not very unlike that of Elijah , 
when he complained of Jezebel, " I only am left, and 
she seeketh my life." But to say nothing of this,\ 
certainly the general impression we have of both is of 
a wonderful combination of severity or self-mortifica- 
tion with compassionate goodness ; as of the Law and 
the Gospel meeting together, for both of them are as " 
the Gospel veiled in the Law. 

But the question is, in what respect Elijah is to be 
an example to ourselves, so that although there may 
be something in his history unlike that of other men, 
yet he is set before us as one of like passions with 
ourselves. Kow there is one point in which he is not 
to be imitated by us; for when Jaipes and John 
wished to bring down ''fire from Heaven as Elias 
did " on a city of the Samaritans, because they re- 
ceived not their Lord, He reproved them for so doing, 
telling them that they knew not " what manner of 
spirit" they were of '^. 

But we are not to consider that the act referred to 
was any fault in Elijah himself, for under the Law 
such acts of zeal were highly commended of God ; as 
St. Basil observes, speaking of Elijah, that " Moses 
the meekest of men, in condemning the idolatry of the 
golden calf, armed the Levites to slay their brethren ; 
Phineas slew the fornicators, Samuel hewed in pieces 
the king of Amalek, and Elijah in like manner slew 
the eight hundred and fifty priests*." And we may 

' St. Luke ix. 56. • St. Bas. Horn. xx. De ir&. 


228 ELIJAH. 

add that this is sanctioned in the Eevelation, where it 
is said of God's chosen Witnesses of the last days, " If 
any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their 
mouth, and devoureth their enemies '." Moreover it 
may he noticed, that as Elias is the great forerunner of 
Christ, and Christ's comings are of two kinds, one in 
salvation, the other in judgment, so in Elijah are set 
forth the judgments of God in things not to be imi- 
tated by us, as in his bringing the famine, in slaying 
the prophets of Baal, in his causing fire to come down 
from Heaven when Ahaziah the son of Ahab sent to 
take him. All these things in him were most right- 
eous and good, but they are rather of the whirlwind, 
the earthquake, and the fire going before, than of that 
" still small voice '* which afterwards spoke of Christ : 
they are as it were streaks of fire that speak of His 
last coming, they partake of the terrors of Mount 
Sinai more than of the law of Pentecost written in 
our hearts by the finger of God in the blood of Christ 
Crucified ; for we are to be of the like spirit with Him 
Who has now come, not to judge, but to save the 

There is also another point in the history of Elijah, 
in which he is an example of something not to be 
imitated but corrected by us; when despairing of 
Israel he requested that he might die, failing as it were 
in that charity which " hopeth all things," for God 
had more in Israel than the Prophet knew of *. 

But the one great point in which Elijah is our 
example is that adduced by St. James. " Pray one for 
another that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent 
prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a 

* Rev. xi. 6. M Kings xL 4. 14. 18. 

ELIJAH. 229 

man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed 
earnestly." The one important lesson then from the 
history of Elijah is prayer, effectual fervent prayer for 
others, others in sin, that they may be saved. To this 
we must add all our Lord's own promises and pledges 
to us Christians, to whom the Spirit of supplications is 
in Baptism given by Him who worketh great marvels, — 
promises of effects which are no less than what was 
miraculously shown in Elijah, that the prayer of faith 
shall remove mountains, shall move the sycamore tree 
from its place, that nothing shall be impossible to it, 
that it shall do greater things than the miracles 
recorded in the Gospels themselves. And the very 
thing is stated of the Christian Witnesses in these 
latter days, " These have power to shut Heaven that 
it rain not *." We are not to shrink from this duty, as 
persons of another kind from Elijah — we, we Christians 
here this day are those to whom this appeal is made — 
we are to be as Elijah in prayer ; not for destroying 
sinners, but for their repentance, for bringing down 
on their cold hearts the fire of the Holy Ghost, the 
dews of restoration on the withered land. For thus 
did Elias set forth in type more than he knew of, the 
sacrifice of Christ, the prayers of the Church, the out- 
pourings of the Spirit. We are not to despair for 
others, but to pray without misgiving, without faint- 
ing, till the hand shall at length appear arising from 
the sea of this troublous life, and the little hand shall 
become a great cloud, and the great cloud shall fall in 
blessing '. 

Of Elias's prayer that it might not rain we have St. 

» Rey. xi. 6. 

' See St. Aug. Do Heli&. Serm. de Temp. 201. 

230 ^LUi.H. 

James's account that " he prayed earnestly." Of his 
prayer that the heavens might be again opened we 
have the history itself. How strong in faith was that 
prayer, when he said, " I hear the sound of abund- 
ance of rain," before any token of rain had appeared ! 
And then at the sacrifice, and at the Mount Carmel, 
how importunate, how persevering, how humble was 
his prayer? "he cast himself upon the earth" in 
his humiliation, " he put his face between his knees," 
he continued in prayer till his servant had gone and 
returned seven times. He prayed and doubted not, 
and for this reason and for the miracles thus wrought 
by his prayers, he is to be the object of our especial 

In voluntary, but extreme poverty, wandering soli- 
tary without either food or raiment, he was so rich in 
the power of prayer as to have in his hands, as it were, 
the keys of Providence. For this purpose, like the 
Apostles themselves in our Lord's lifetime, he was 
supematurally supported. "I have commanded the 
ravens," " I have commanded the widow woman," said 
Q-od, " to sustain thee." 

When he prayed for the famine he despaired not ; 
when he slew the priests of Baal he despaired not ; 
when he called down fire on the two captains and 
their companies he despaired not ; in all these cases 
God was glorified, and there followed repentance and 
mercy on HLis judgments; but when he fled from 
Jezebel, and said that he only was lefb, he then 
despaired. Tor this he was reproved. As was the 
case with many of the saints of Scripture, his failure 
was in that very point in which he was for the most 
part singularly great, and gifted of God. Thus by his 
strength and by his weakness, by praise and by 

ELIJAH. 231 

reproof, he inculcates alike this one lesson, to pray and 
faint not ; however perplexed, not to despair, in pray- 
ing for our finends, and especially for the Church of 
God, — whatever appearances may be, not to give over. 
Effectual fervent prayer availeth much. 



1 Kings xxi. 25. 

^ But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to 
work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his 
wife stirred up." 

We may be sure that Scripture has somewise purpose 
in holding up so much to our notice an account of the 
wicked Ahab, that there is something in it calculated to 
teach us the knowledge of ourselves and of the human 
heart, and set before us in the person of a king, in 
order to arrest our more particular attention. The 
mercies of God shown to Ahab, and signal warnings, 
chastenings intended for his correction, and prosperi- 
ties to call forth his thankfulness, the knowledge which 
he had of the true God, his understanding and feeling 
of what was right, the memorials of good which were 
given him in living examples, all these things make 
the character one of great weight with regard to our- 
selves. He had Elijah, one of the greatest of Prophets, 
living in his time and country, and sent to deal espe- 
cially with himself; we find incidentally that he had 

AHAB. 233 

even at his right hand a witness of God in the 
faithfiil Obadiah ; like as his counterpart Herod had 
of his own household, and his own steward's wife one 
that ministered to our Lord. And by this Obadiah 
numerous Prophets of God were protected. Add to 
which, there was Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, who 
gave him wise counsel and good example. There was 
therefore no want of better knowledge on the part of 
Ahab. There were signal miracles wrought for his 
especial benefit. And even at last one Prophet of 
God, Micaiah, the son of Imlah, had so often warned 
him as to have incurred his settled hate as a messenger 
of evil to him. Often reproved, he hardened his neck 
till destruction came upon him without remedy. He 
went on from bad to worse, he opened his heart more 
and more to the returns of the evil spirit, till that evil 
spirit entered in with seven others, and took his per- 
manent abode within him. 

The scene as it proceeds becomes crowded as it 
were with living agents, for and against his soul ; with 
Satan also in the background promising life where 
God had warned of death ; obtaining leave to deceive 
where he wished to be deceived, filling the mouths of 
the false prophets to his ruin. Jerusalem on the one 
side ; Tyre and Zidon on the other ; and behind the 
veil Heaven and Hell. 

Ahab too himself was one in whose soul there was 
a contest between good and evil. He was not as one 
that neither knew nor cared any thing for God, like 
Jezebel ; as one that feared neither God nor man ; but 
he had his misgivings, his miserable upbraidings of 
conscience. It is more than once said of him, that he 
"went to his house heavy and displeased," till the 
gloom of his dark soul, like the groves in which he 

234 ahab; 

worshipped, became the resort of wicked spirits ; there 
was the wish to do evil even when he had not the 
courage to do it; conscience enough to make him 
wretched, not enough to do what is right ; so that it 
is said of him repeatedly that he " sold himself," that 
is, that he gave up his better self in exchange for the 
wages of wickedness. And what paved the waj to his 
soid*s ruin was what is usual with such persons, that 
he associated with others more wicked than himself ; 
so that part of the description of him is "whom 
Jezebel his wife stirred up :" by the company of the 
evil wickedness became familiar to him ; his " way was 
made plain with stones, while the end thereof was the 
pit of hell *.'* Yet the care of God never left him, 
although that care he never ceased to frustrate and 
make void. 

Let us then more particularly consider his history. 
He comes before us as a king of Israel. Now Israel 
had already fallen from God, and given up the purer 
worship at Jerusalem, following " Jeroboam, the son 
of Nebat, who taught Israel to sin," and proceeding 
on that high road of declension ; the kings of Israel 
were in consequence worse than the kings of Judah; 
in this respect then Ahab the more strongly repre- 
sents the great body of people among ourselves, who 
by the sins of their forefathers or their own have 
fallen from the highest and best privileges of grace ; 
yet they have sufficient knowledge of God to rise, and 
not to fall lower ; but they are for the most part con- 
tent with this state, and to be no better than others 
before them and around them ; and this necessarily 
leads to their being worse. Thus we find it was with 

^ ECCIUS. XXL 10. 

AHAB. 235 

Ahab ; the kings of Israel had fallen from God, yet 
they knew far better than the heathen, but they went 
downward in their course and united themselves to 
them. Thus the first thing we are told of Ahab is 
this, " as if it had been a light thing for him to walk 
in the sins of Jeroboam, he took to wife Jezebel, the 
daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Zidonians *." Now 
this was a splendid and rich alliance ; Zidon was one 
of the best known cities then in the world for its wealth 
and merchandise; like Tyre, its merchants were princes, 
the sea and all its riches were theirs. What therefore 
follows from this union ? He married Jezebel, " and 
went," it is added, " and served Baal, and worshipped 
him." She came in with all the spirit and power of 
the false gods, multiplied her priests through all the 
land of Israel, made it to become even as the heathen, 
and worse, for the knowledge of the true God existed 
with the service of devils throughout the kingdom. 

Now take away the outward circumstances by which 
the trial of human souls is clothed, and the case is not 
uncommon. Men who know God make themselves 
one with people of the world on account of wealth, 
station, or some worldly advantages, and thus the 
course of their own souls becomes downward, and is 
made easy. But though they are doing all they can to 
forget God, He is not forgetting them ; He calls to 
them, makes them to see His hand in mercy and judg- 
ment, and visits them with fatherly chastisements. 

Thus the next thing we read of in the history of 
Ahab, is the famine brought on the land through the 
prayers of Elijah on account of their idolatry ; and 
this continued for three years and a half, the very 

> 1 Kings xvi. 31. 

236 AMXB. 

space of time in which our Lord went about teaching, 
and inviting the afflicted, seeking fruit for three years 
of that tree for which He interceded that it might yet 
be spared, while He dug about its roots. " I spake 
unto thee in thy prosperity ; but thou saidst, I will 
not hear;" but in adversity they will consider. "Is 
Ephraim my dear son ? For since I spake against 
him, I do earnestly remember him still*." Then 
follows the long account of Elijah appearing before 
Ahab, telling him the whole truth, summoning the 
priests of Baal, making that solemn appeal to Heaven, 
and bringing down fire on the sacrifice. Ahab is so 
much relenting that he acquiesces in all this; he 
appears as it were to take part in it ; he is, one might 
almost think, reconciled to Elijah ; the Heavens are 
opened, the Prophet is acknowledged, all is rejoicing, 
all forgiveness and mercy. Ahab is gone up to eat 
and drink ; his chariot is ready ; Elijah himself attends 
him, and he enters Jezreel. 

And now one might suppose that there is hope for 
Ahab ; that his heart, as the dry land, will not receive 
the grace of God in vain ; that there will be no more 
halting between two opinions, between Baal and the 
true God ; and so it might have been, were it not for 
his evil marriage, and that he had taken a serpent 
to his bosom. The account proceeds, "And Ahab 
told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how 
he had slain all the prophets with the sword *." Thus 
does his heart turn back again to her and her gods ; 
he does not protect Elijah from her fury, who had 
done for him so great things ; whom he had seen with 
his own eyes to be G^d's own miraculous messenger. 

* Jer. xxii. 21 ; xxxi. 20. * 1 Kings xix. 1. 

AHAB. 237 

But AHab is not cast off of Qod ; He has yet other 
mercies in store for him ; as if saying, " Surely he will 
repent and turn." The human soul is very dear to God. 
Ahab's heart is set on human greatness : well, that 
also he shall have ; peradventure even yet he may be 
won, that God may be gracious unto him. Look on 
the map of Israel, there you will see Zidon on the one 
side, with that he is married ; but on the other side is 
Damascus, there is Benhadad, his powerful enemy and 
the enemy of God. The hand of that king of Syria is 
heavy on him, and his insulting boasts are against 
Israel and Israel's God : and Ahab is chosen by God 
to the high privilege of avenging His cause. And 
Ahab knew full well that the faithfulness of the kings 
and people of God was shown in cutting off those 
whom they were commissioned to destroy. But he 
has made friends for his own interest with the enemy 
of God ; the King of Syria, whom he has overcome, is 
sitting up with him in his own chariot; as it was, 
" Jezebel my wife ;" so it is now, * My brother Ben- 
hadad.' " 

But now Ahab, by the mercies of God who is good 
to the unthankful, is made rich ; the cities of Israel 
which his father had lost are restored ; Damascus itself 
owns his power. And with prosperity comes hardness 
of heart, and covetousness, and next we read of the 
vineyard of Naboth, and a deed known to all genera- 
tions. At Jezreel, to which he was once led by the 
Prophet of God amidst the miraculous blessings of 
rain, in this very Jezreel Elijah must meet him again, 
while Ahab receives him with the words, *^ Hast thou 
found me, mine enemy ?" 

However great may be his gains or possessioDS, it is 
often for a trifling matter that a covetous man forfeits 

238 AHAB« 

liis soul ; as if Satan did it to mock him ; Ere for an 
apple ; Judas for thirty pieces of silver : Esau his 
birthright for a morsel of meat ; the rich king Ahab 
for a garden of herbs. Possessing palaces and cities, 
yet for a little spot of ground which could not lawfully 
be his, he pined away in hea\iness and displeasure, 
and fasted ; till he took part in the great wickedness 
of his wife ; as Adam in the sin of Eve ; and the words 
of God met him in the garden, " Hast thou killed and 
also taken possession?" But the unspeakable 
forbearance and graciousness of God! even on the 
poor show of an imperfect repentance, He puts off 
from him the evil day and withholds the rod. 

At length we come to the final scene of this miser- 
able man: he was as Saul in his latter days when 
Gtod had gone from him ; he fears to ask counsel of 
the prophet of God, as knowing what his conscience 
foreboded of evil ; and in consequence makes himself 
the prey of seducing spirits : and thus we find him in 
going forth to his last battle in company with Jeho- 
shaphat the king of Judah, deluding himself with the 
multitude of false prophets, and avoiding the voice of 
the true Micaiah the son of Imlah. Thus the word 
of God becomes hated when it bears witness against 
us. " For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, 
neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be 

Indeed, one thing is observable in the history of 
Ahab throughout, how much a self-deceiving conscience 
seems at work in it all; his sin is ever as a ser- 
pent that hides its head : it has some cloke or shelter, 
rather than being of that open and bold character which 
defies God : " heavy and displeased " he broods over 
sinful wishes ; and is glad to reap fruits of that wick- 

AHAB. 239 

edness which he did not dare by himself to commit. 
If the worship of Baal was introduced it was Jezebel's 
doing, he might say, not his own ; if the prophets of 
God were slain, if Elijah was persecuted unto the 
death, it was his wife and not Ahab ; if Naboth was 
slain by false witnesses, and under the pretence of a 
religious fast, it was Jezebel's deed. If he goes forth 
to the battle at Eamoth-Gilead, there is the same self- 
deceiving hypocrisy ; he sits on his throne with the 
king of Judah, and in a solemn and religious manner 
has brought before him the prophets to consult them ; 
but there is one prophet that he avoids, and only at 
the requirement of the king of Judah will he meet 
him, or face the Eye of God. But the character of 
Ahab is not at all excused by all this ; this double 
dealing with his own soul is the very thing which 
Scripture condemns, as proving that there is not in 
the heart the love of God. And what is the Scriptural 
account of him ? " There was none like unto Ahab, 
which did sell himself to work wickedness :" — " he did 
more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than 
all that were before him *." 

Now in considering the character of Ahab, it may 
be thought that he was so entangled in sin by having 
Jezebel for his wife, that he might have* had great 
difficulty in setting himself free and acting better; 
and the like may be said of Israel itself in its subjec- 
tion to her and her prophets of Baal ; but this miser- 
able state, and the perplexities of sin, had been brought 
upon themselves ; aAd after in vain waiting for their 
repentance God will judge them for it. This sadly 
instructive page of history is a glass held up to our- 

* 1 Kings xvl 33 ; xxi. 25. 

240 AHAB. 

selves. If we receive not the love of the truth, we 
shall become the prey of seducing spirits more and 
more ; it will be no excuse for us that we have added 
to our own temptations, and made a net for our own 
feet. All this case is carried down to ourselves by 
our Lord Himself in the Eevelation of St. John, 
" These things saith the Son of Q-od, "Who hath His 
eyes like unto a flame of Are : because thou sufferest 
that woman Jezebel, who calleth herself a prophetess, 
to teach and to seduce My servants ; behold, I will cast 
them that commit adultery with her into great tribu- 
lation, except they repent of their deeds ; and all the 
Churches shall know that I am He which searcheth 
the reins and hearts *." 

Be infinitely careful of the dealings of G-od with 
your soul; associate not with the wicked, for what 
fellowship hath the temple of G-od with idols ? seek 
not flatteries ; but open your heart to the prophet of 
God ; his prayer may avail you much ; remember how 
forbearing God has been to you on your weak shadows 
of repentance, and what will He then be to you, if 
you repent with your whole heart ? sell not that which 
it hath cost the Blood of Christ to purchase for you ; 
for what will it avail, if you gain the whole world and 
lose your own soul ? 

Further : we may notice that God never leaves men 
in sin without a witness ; as God to Adam in Para- 
dise; as Enoch and Noah before the flood: as Lot 
to Sodom; as Melchizedeck was to the Canaanites; 
as Moses to Pharaoh; as Samuel to Saul; as 
Nathan and Gad to David in his sins ; as Isaiah to 
Hezekiah ; as Elijah and Micaiah to Ahab ; as the 

• Rev. iu 18—23. 

AHAB. 241 

prophets to Jerusalem before the captivity ; as Daniel 
to Babylon ; as John the Baptist to Herod ; as our 
Lord and His Holy Spirit to Jerusalem before its last 
destruction; as the Christian Martyrs to Heathen 
Borne ; so to this land now is the Church of God ; so 
to every soul in every place there are witnesses and 
calls of God. And thus on the Last Great Day " all 
the Churches shall know " that Christ is " He which 
searcheth the reins and hearts." 



2 Kings ii. 9, 10. 

^Aod Elisha said^ I pray thee, let a doable portion of thy 
spirit be upon me. 

*' And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing ; nevertheless, if 
thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto 

These words of the prophet Elijah and the fulfilment 
of them may be considered as containing all the his- 
tory of Elisha ; great as was Elijah in power of mira- 
cles, far greater was his successor Elisha whom we 
ever associate with him. But the occasion on which 
the words were spoken, and the circumstances con- 
nected with it seem to lead our thoughts to some 
further figurative meaning in all that occurred to 
Elisha. Elijah's being taken up to Heaven is an ob- 
vious sign of our Lord's Ascension, by His own in- 
dwelling Godhead; and before departing our Lord 
declared to His disciples that if they believed in Him 
after He had gone from them, if they saw Him risen, 
they should have greater power than He had mani- 
fested already among them: '' greater works than 

ELISHi.. 243' 

these shall he do, because I go unto My Father;" 
" it is expedient for you that I go " that the Comforter 
may come. "He shall glorify Me, for He shall 
receive of Mine." Elisha then, with the mantle of 
Elijah, seems to represent to us what our Lord would 
be to those who live in the power of faith after His 
Ascension ; what His Spirit is to us ; what He is to 
us in His Church. The sons of the prophets were 
still searching for Elijah on earth, but Elisha saw him, 
it is said, ascended. 

This will explain much to us. It appears that 
when the temporal Israel was breaking down and fail- 
ing, as the Prophets such as Isaiah and Jeremiah were 
sent to speak of the Gospel ; so two successive pro- 
phets in their life and actions were made to be full 
of signification and Divine meaning, and then given 
at the same time to represent Christ in His mira- 
culous doings in His Church both before and after 
His Ascension ; and in the latter case, in Elisha, with 
a striking fulness of significancy and power ; his very 
actions were made to be figures of Christ and to 
exhibit the spiritual things of His kingdom. 

Thus immediately after the ascension of Elijah, one 
of Elisha' s first acts is that of healing the waters by 
casting salt into them, that " there shall be no more 
death or barren land," which seems at once to inti- 
mate that after our Lord's Ascension, on the descent 
of the Holy Spirit, by the preaching of the Word 
which is the salt of the earth, and the waters of Bap- 
tism, the curse of Adam, and the effect of the fall is 
removed. The same may afford some explanation of 
a mysterious circumstance which is mentioned shortly 
after in the same chapter, that of the forty and two 
children destroyed for mocking Elisha. Eor thus 

244 ELISHA. 

when the Church was siarengthened by a greater 
power, by the Holy Ghost, immediately we read of the 
awful deaths of Ananias and Sapphira at the word of 
St. Peter; and of Elymas the sorcerer being struck 
blind * ; forcibly reminding us, that whosoever speaketh 
against the Son of Man, i. e. of Christ seen in the 
flesh and not known to be Qod, it should be forgiven 
him; but whosoever should speak against the Holy 
Ghost, it should not be forgiven him. For these chil- 
dren may represent to us those that have been 
admitted into Christ's kingdom. It was in the idol- 
atrous Bethel, and these children no doubt spoke the 
spirit and mind of their parents ; for they were the 
''children of those that slew the prophets." And 
their expression " Go up," and " Go up," might allude 
in mockery to Elijah's having gone up to Heaven, as 
if deriding not Elisha only, but Elijah ; as He that 
speaketh against the Holy Ghost speaketh against 
Christ, as seen no longer as the Son of Man only, but 
ascended into Heaven. These then are " the scoffers 
that shall come in the last days ;" — " cursed children,^* 
as St. Peter calls them, *' who have forsaken the right 
way *;" — children of Bethel, having fallen from the true 
faith, and being therefore under the curse of the 

Thus the life of Elisha may be considered by us as 
a parable containing the Gospel ; his history itself is 
like a prophecy. All his actions seem to contain 
Christ in mystery ; but some of the more obvious may 
perhaps be mentioned. Who, for instance, does not 
at once understand the cleansing of Naaman, as exhi- 
biting in a living manner the Gentile world coming to 

» Aeti T. 10 ; xiii. 11. » 2 Pet il 14. 

:elisha. 245 

the Israel of God for Christian Baptism ? Our Lord 
Himself in speaking of the call of the Gentiles refers 
to it ; and in this light how full of instruction are all 
its circumstances P We see the simplicity of the rite 
in the words of the Syrian servants, " if the prophet 
had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not 
have done it P how much rather then, when he saith 
to thee, Wash and be clean;'' in the flesh as a 
little child out of leprosy, the type of sin, we recognize 
the new birth ; and in Gehazi, the leprosy of the Gen- 
tile cleaving to the covetous Jew and his " seed for 
ever;" while in the very un worthiness of the messen- 
ger, we are not without a sad warning for the Chris- 
tian minister. 

Again ; take the restoration of the dead child ; the 
explanation given of old commends itself to one at 
once; first he sends his messenger with the staff; 
thus our Lord before He came by His servant sent 
the Law, but it " could not give life ;" then He came 
Himself " in the likeness of sinful flesh '," made con- 
formable unto death; the living to the dead; He 
made Himself small. He contracted as it were His 
limbs to the limbs of the child of Adam ; full of sym- 
pathies and compassions for us ; He breathed seven 
times with the breath of His seven-fold Spirit ; until 
the dead limbs became warm by His life and revived *. 

We may add, what a beautiful allegory of Christian 
love is there in that multiplying of the widow's oil ; 
the widow being the Church of Christ ; the prophet's 
injunction for the performance of the miracle, " When 
thou art come in, shut the door upon thee," is like 

• Rom. viii. 3. 

* See St. Aug. yoI. y. Serm. xxvi. and cxxxvi. And St. Greg, 
on Job ix. 35. 

24i6 SLISHA. 

our Lord's own command, that in faith we enter into 
the closet, and shut to the door, and look to the eye 
of Q-od in secret, the true Fountain of Love ; the oil 
while it abode alone sufficed not for herself only, but 
wasted away and the debt increased ; but when poured 
into the empty vessels of all the neighbours it con- 
tinued to increase ever more and more ; the more it is 
expended on others, the more is itself augmented; 
thus as love increases the debt grows small. Por 
loving much hath much forgiven. Of this kind is the 
explanation of St. Augustine '. 

With regard to the double portion of the spirit 
of Elijah which was, according to the promise, to 
rest on Elisha, it is observable, not only that the 
miracles recorded of Elisha are double in number 
those of Elijah; there being twelve of Elijah, and 
twenty-four of Elisha; but there is a greatness, a 
majesty about them; a facility manifested in their 
performance, an absence of effort; they are often 
through the instrumentality of others: he is among 
the companies of the prophets ; they " bow themselves 
to the ground before him*,'* he sends them on his 
embassies of power and mercy. Elijah anoints Hazael 
king, but Elisha sends one of the children of the pro- 
phets to anoint Jehu. He speaks too with more autho- 
rity, as in his message to Naaman the Syrian Captain ; 
and in his stern address to the King of Israel. " And 
Elisha said unto the King of Israel, What have I to 
do with thee ? Get thee to the prophets of thy 
father, and to the prophets of thy mother." . - . " As 
the Lord of hosts liveth before whom I stand, surely, 
were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat 

< Serm. De Temp. 206. * 2 Kipga ii. 15. 

EJilSHA. 247 

the King of Judah, I would not look toward thee nor 
see thee^." And then a minstrel plays before him 
and he prophesies. He had ministered unto Elijah \ 
but others minister to him. Thus in multiplying the 
widow's oil the miracle is like that of Elijah, but he is 
not like Elijah, a poor suppliant, himself having no 
where to lay his head. Still more so is it in raising 
the dead child; the same miracle is performed by 
both in the same manner, but there is the like differ- 
ence of character. The rich Shunammite " bows her- 
self to the ground" before Elisha. "He said to 
Gehazi his servant. Call this Shunammite. And when 
he had called her, she stood before him. And he said 
unto him, Say unto her, wouldst thou be spoken for 
to the king, or to the captain of the host ?" 

Moreover he exemplified the boldness which was 
seen in Peter and John and all the Apostles after the 
day of Pentecost, so unlike what they had been before, 
when St. Peter had trembled at a woman ; as Elijah 
in fleeing from Jezebel. Thus it is said of him in the 
Apocryphal Scriptures, "Eliseus was filled with the 
spirit of Elias; whilst he lived, he was not moved 
with the presence of any prince ; no word could over- 
come him V 

And again, there was set forth in Elisha a kind of 
spiritual knowledge, which seems to express the Spirit 
of Christ in His Church, the heart-searching God. 
Thus he says to Gehazi, " went not my heart with 
thee?" And thus it is said to the king of Syria, 
"Elisha the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the 
words that thou speakest in thy bed-chamber '*." So 

7 2 Kings iii. 14. * 1 Kings xix. 21. 

* Ecclus. xlviii. 12. ^^ 2 Kings vi. 12. 


likewise does he speak to Hazael the Syrian Captain 
as knowing his ** thoughts long before ;" for the pro- 
phet knew his designs before he knew them himself '. 

Further ; these considerations will illustrate a sort 
of resembUnce which is obserrable between some of 
the miracles of Elisha and those of Elijah. ** The 
works that I do," says our Lord, " shall he do also ; 
and greater works than these shall he do, becaose I 
go unto my Father '." Now this is what we find sha- 
dowed forth and represented in Elisha ; his works are 
greater than those of Elijah, as our Lord in His 
Church does greater things than He did before His 
Ascension ; and not only this, but at the same time 
there is a sort of resemblance between them ; as if 
exemplifying those our Lord's words, '* the works that 
I do shall he do also." By both there is a dead child 
raised to life ; by both a poor widow is supematurally 
sustained ; in the case of both there is a sore famine 
on Israel relieved by a great and sudden change. 
Thus Elijah and Elisha resembled each other. 

And as Elisha is so remarkable a type or figure of 
our Lord in His Church, so it would appear as if 
some circumstances in his history were intended to 
remind us of Christ by their resemblance to things 
recorded of Him. For instance, do we not see like a 
preparation for our Lord's two miracles of the loaves 
in this? Barley loaves were brought to Elisha; 
"and he said. Give unto the people that they may 
eat. And his servitor said, What, should I set 
this before an hundred men? He said again, Oive 
the people that they may eat. So he set it before 
them, and they did eat, and left thereof." And 

1 2 Kings Yiii. 13. ^ St. John xiv. 12. 

ELISH^ 249 

so likewise his restoring the dead child represents, 
says St. Augustine, our Lord Himself in mystery. Nor 
did this resemblance cease with his life. As it is said 
in Ecclesiasticus of Elisha, " And after his death his 
body prophesied ' ;" that is, was made full of a divine 
significance. For the dead man, who was cast into his 
grave, coming again to life on his touching the dead 
bones of Elisha sets forth very strongly that, " all in 
Christ shall be made alive." " Together with My 
dead body shall they arise." 

Another remarkable incident may be mentioned in 
the life of Elisha. Our Lord wept over Jerusalem at 
the thought of the time when her enemies should cast 
a trench about her and lay her even with the ground ; 
and how much it resembles this account of Elisha. 
"The man of God wept. And Hazael said, Why 
weepeth my lord ? And he answered. Because I know 
the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel : 
their strongholds wilt thou set on fire, and their 
young men wilt thou slay with the sword *." This 
tenderness too in Elisha marks him as of one and the 
same spirit with Elijah ; — to say nothing of that common 
bond of strong afiection between the two, as seen in 
Elisha's cleaving to Elijah so that he would not let 
him go, and his lament at his loss. 

Now, my Christian brethren, what a beautiful sig- 
nificancy ia there in all this ? not only do the Prophets 
prophesy of Christ, and the Psalms sing of Him, but 
His saints also by their very lives are made to speak 
of Him. Not only has our Lord condescended to take 
upon Him our nature, and to be as it were one of us, 
but also to make other men to be like Himself in the 

' Ecdus. xlvili. 13. ^ 2 Kiugs viii. 12. 

250 SLISHA. 

incidents of their lives, and thus likewise to preach 
His Spirit and power amongst men. Like Elijah is 
Christ gone up to Heaven ; like Elisha He is with us 
still with a double power. And yet in one sense is 
He in both alike, for both are made to resemble each 
other ; our Lord in the synagogue at Nazareth speaks 
of both of them together as prefiguring Himself in 
calling the Gentiles ; He reminded them that Elijah 
was sent to the widow of Sarepta; to Elisha came 
Naaman the Syrian *. And we may observe that of 
both Prophets alike at their departure the same 
remarkable words are used, " My father, my father, 
the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof®.'* 
Thus as a branch on a tree sometimes represents the 
form and structure of the tree itself on which it grows, 
so do individuals that are in Christ exhibit Christ 

On some occasions indeed Elisha seems like as if he 
were acting a visible representation, or drama, of some- 
thing that is to be a living Christian truth by the 
power of faith. As for instance, when surrounded by 
an armed host he opened his servant's eyes. " And 
his servant said unto him, Alas, my master ! how shall 
we do ? And he answered, Eear not : for they that be 
with us are more than they that be with them. And 
Elisha prayed, and said. Lord, I pray Thee, open his 
eyes that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes 
of the young man, and he saw: and, behold, the 
mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round 
about Elisha \" What was this but setting before 
pur eyes that engaging Christian truth that, as St. 

< St. Luke iy. 26, 27. ® 2 Kings ii. 12 ; xui. 14. 

f 2 Kings vi. 16—17. 

|:lisha. 251 

Paul says, we " are come unto Mount Sion, and an 
innumerable company of angels;" that as twelve 
legions of angels were ready to aid Christ when His 
enemies approached, " the angel of the Lord encampeth 
round about them that fear Him ? " And then imme- 
diately afterwards the enemies are made blind and led 
by the Prophet into the midst of Samaria ; and when 
thus taken captive, not destroyed nor injured, but their 
eyes are opened, and they are received with welcome 
and with provision of bread. What a lively teaching 
of Christ is there in all this! Of Him Who hath 
come " that they which see not might see ; and that 
they which see might be made blind;" Who hath 
received us Gentiles walking by faith and not by sight; 
Who when we were enemies by wicked works, hath 
not punished, but laden us with t le abundance of 
His house, and received us as guests at His table. 

Thus in the histories of Elijah and Elisha are our 
thoughts raised above the common things oP this our 
daily life, and led to the contemplation of the wonderful 
things of Christ, to the wonders that He doeth fop 
those that live by faith, to realities of more lively 
interest than all our highest hopes and aspirations. 
And in Elisha especially, who sets forth the double 
portion, we see our Lord Himself, speaking to us in 
all that is recorded in one of His prophets of old ; as 
if thereby saying, " If ye see Me ascended, if in heart 
and mind ye are ascended with Me, ye shall partake of 
My power at the right hand of God ; in My Church 
which is united in love is My mantle without seam, in 
it ye shall do greater things than ye have seen Me do, 
and nothing shall be impossible to you." 

Now this marvellous history of Elisha is such as is 
full of interest for a child ; like a tale of great wonders ; 

25^ ELISHA. 

and we learn from Scripture that the wisdom of 
children is often nearer the wisdom of God than 
that of grown men; and we have often, as we 
grow older, to go back and learn of childhood. We 
are brought by the Gospel into a spiritual world which 
is full of things great and wonderful beyond concep- 
tion, such as eye hath not seen nor ear heard. To 
these we have to raise our minds continually; no 
imaginings of a child can reach these realities of God ; 
but it opens the way to that child-like faith which 
makes things to be true which it believes. Divine 
child-like love "hopeth all things and believeth all 
things," and can do all things through Christ strength- 
ening. But it must ever be accompanied with rever- 
ence and godly fear, or, like the children who mocked 
at the Prophet "going up," instead of seeing him 
ascend in faith, it will bring down its own destruction, 
not a double portion of blessings. 



2 KiKOS xviii. 5. 

^ He trusted in the Lord God of Israel ; so that after him was 
none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were 
before him." 

Thebe is much to make us thoughtful in what we 
read of the good king Hezekiah. Succeeding his 
father Ahaz and coming before his son Manasseh, both 
of them among the most wicked of the kings of Judah, 
he himself has the especial praise of God ; and his life 
exemplifies wherein the safety lies, and wherein the 
dangers of good men. In the first month of his reign 
he commenced opening and repairing the house of 
God, and from thence he proceeded to the extirpation 
of idolatry throughout his kingdom ; and all this so 
earnestly and sincerely that it is said of him, that " in 
every work that he began in the service of the house 
of God, and in the Law, and in the commandments to 
seek his God, he did it with all his heart ^" Thus 

> 2 ChroD. xxxi. 21. 


becoming " strong in the " strength of " the Lord," as 
his name imports, he prospers in all his ways, and casts 
off the yoke of the king of Assyria. But some years 
after this same Sennacherib, Israel being now carried 
away captive, and all the fenced cities of Judah being 
taken, comes against Jerusalem, and Hezekiah by a 
great ransom, for which he spoils the house of God, 
and cuts off the gold from the doors and pillars of the 
temple, purchases peace. But this hollow truce, while 
it renders apparent the weakness of king Hezekiah, 
does not succeed ; for shortly after Sennacherib makes 
that great and memorable invasion to besiege Jerusa- 
lem. And here, as in contrast to the former human 
means which he had taken, Hezekiah has recourse to 
God. " Be not afraid," are his words, " for the king 
of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him." 
" "With him is an arm of flesh ; but with us is the 
Lord our God *." 

It has been often observed that man's helplessness 
is God's opportunity ; that when things are humanly 
speaking most hopeless God interferes. The reason of 
this may be in great measure owing to the power of 
prayer, which is wont to be most importunate, perse- 
vering, and earnest in the season of such need, when 
man has nothing in himself to trust to. It is not 
distress merely, but the prayer of distress which brings 
God so near. And now the faith of king Hezekiah, 
confirmed and nourished by all his former works of 
religion in restoring the pure worship of God, was to 
be tried. It is one of those signal instances recorded 
in Scripture of faith strengthening itself by seeing the 
Invisible ; hoping against hope, and trusting in God 

> 2 Chron. xxxii. 7> ^* 


for that which nothing but Almighty power could 
bring about. Instead of the costly ransom as before, 
or numbering of armies, we read " Hezekiah received 
the letter of the hand of the messengers and read it ; 
and Hezekiah went up into the house of the Lord and 
spread it before the Lord'." Another more brief 
account is this ; " Hezekiah the king and the prophet 
Isaiah prayed and cried to Heaven *." And the result 
is, " Then the angel of the Lord went forth, and smote 
in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore 
and five thousand." 

This remarkable deliverance is one of the most 
extraordinary events in the history of the world; and 
is related in three distinct places of Scripture, in the 
Kings, and the Chronicles, and in the prophet Isaiah ; 
recorded for the example of all ages, when the 
need of assistance is great, and all human help fails. 
Such is ever the case with the human soul ; besieged 
by the armies of darkness and warring with the prin- 
cipalities and powers in high places ; when there is no 
salvation but that which is of God, and such deliver^ 
ance brought about by faith and earnest prayer. 

The other circumstance most memorable in the his- 
tory of Hezekiah was the lengthening of his life, and 
the sign that was given him of the sun going back, in 
consequence of his prayer; when humanly speaking 
and without a miracle, according to the word of the 
prophet Isaiah, he would have died. The sign indeed 
of the sun going back in his course may appear the 
greatest miracle of the two ; but thus was it shown 
.that as '^ the sun knoweth his going down," so man 

> 2 Kings xix. 14. * 2 Chron. xxxii. 20. 


also, as the suns and days of this world, hath his 
appointed time ; both are alike in the hand of G-od ; 
both are but the shadows of that true life which is 
with Him, the light that goes not down. 

Here arises a question, how far it would be right, if 
we were apparently at the point of death, to pray that 
our life might be prolonged ; and so also when those 
who are dear to us are in immediate danger of death ; 
how far is it wise to pray that they may live ? Cer- 
tainly such a prayer should only be made with great 
caution, and submission to the Divine will, lest it 
might be that we love our own life, or the life of our 
friends more than the will of God; and so in our 
human infirmity we should bring evil upon us and not 
good ; or derive a less blessing instead of a greater 
one which God in His love had designed for us ; that 
life may be granted to our prayers, when it would have 
been better for us to die. Thus we may observe in 
our own Prayer Book, in the Visitation of the Sick, there 
is no prayer for the prolonging of life. In the case of 
the good king Hezekiah we see the wonderful power of 
the effectual prayer of faith. This is a lesson to us of 
infinite value. But there is in the whole circumstance 
something mysterious which we cannot fully explain, 
and we are not told that the object of that prayer 
was altogether acceptable or the best. The account is 
this, " In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. 
And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amos, came unto 
him, and said unto him. Thus saith the Lord, Set 
thine house in order ; for thou shalt die, and not live. 
Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and 
prayed unto the Lord." To which it is added, 
<< Then came the word of the Lord to Isaiah, saying. 


Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the Lord, I have 
heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears ; I will add 
unto thy days fifteen years'." It would appear then 
that it would have been God's will that he should 
have died at that time, had it not been for that prayer; 
and God may have so determined it in consequence of 
foreseeing some evil approaching, or some danger that 
would arise to the good King Hezekiah from the 
lengthening of his days. And although these evils 
may have been in some way lessened by the Almighty 
power of God, and turned into good, yet they may 
not have been altogether averted. Eor instance ; the 
great misery which hangs over the memory of the 
good Hezekiah is this, that he was the father of that 
wicked king, Manasseh, who beyond all others pro- 
voked God to anger, and overwhelmed Jerusalem in 
destruction. But now it appears that this his son 
Manasseh was not bom till three years after King 
Hezekiah recovered from that sickness. If then he 
had died at that time it would have saved him from 
this great calamity. 

I^or is this all ; for it was after that sickness, and 
apparently in consequence of his recovery from it, that 
Hezekiah fell into that sin which brought upon him 
the judgments of God. It is thus spoken of in the 
Book of the Chronicles in ecnmexion with that his 
miraculous restoration. '^ In those days Hezekiah 
was sick to the death, and prayed unto the Lord; 
and He spake unto him, and He gave him a sign. 
But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the 
benefit done unto him ; for his heart was lifted up ; 
therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah 
and Jerusalem'." 

' Isa. xxxviii. 1 — 5. ' 2 Chron. xxxil 24, 25. 


with the rojal Penitent, 

ban coming unto him said, 

itm who, when he saw his 

• and wept bitterly;" so now 

" Notwithstanding," says the 

ibled himself for the pride of 

the prophet Jeremiah it is 

! stance of humiliation on being 

Hezekiah king of Judah fear 

iit the Lord, and the Lord re- 

[ which He had pronounced*?" 

u; ix)d king on receiving the terrible 

Uremely touching and beauti^. 

unto Isaiab, Good is the word 

'hou. haat spoken. And he said,. 

M!ice and truth be in my days*?"^ 

; the extremity of his distress, arose 

be the Name of the Lord ! " As 

flwful sen ten ee which Samuel had 

fii, tiaid, " It is the Lord ; let Him do 

lim good/^ So now does the good 

i.L manner love that hand which was 

lii&h him J and in seeing and loving 

V in that severe chastening than 

4i in their proBperity, 

'iii again pause to reflect on this in- 

How wonderfully do all things 

t>T good for them that love God. " O 

riches both of the wisdom and know- 

IHow unsearchable are His judgments, 

past finding outM" We might have 

itiU 26> 

• Jer. xxvi. 19. 

* Rom. zi 39. 

B 3 


It is indeed a very sad truth that persons are seldom 
rendered better by sickness; and even miracles do 
not change the heart. Out of ten lepers that were 
cleansed at our Lord's word, one only returned to 
give thanks to his Deliverer. For it was soon after 
Hezekiah's sickness that there came ambassadors from 
the King of Babylon to congratulate him on his reco- 
very ; the Babylonians, or Chaldeans, being great ob- 
servers of the stars, they came it appears also to inquire 
respecting the miraculous sign which had occurred 
of the sun going back ten degrees. As it is said, 
" Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the 
princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to inquire of 
the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, 
to try him, that He might know all that was in his 
heart ^.'* Like David when he numbered the people, 
glorying in the multitude of his armies, so Hezekiah 
showed them all his treasures. The strength of He- 
zekiah like that of David had been his trust in God ; 
but now it is in his own riches. " For God," it is 
said, "had given him substance very much." He 
" had exceeding much riches and honour." Oh, how 
miserable is the glory of this world ! Oh, how poor are 
the best things it has to bestow, so that it were far 
better for us not to have them at all, unless in having 
them we are as if we had them not ! For then came 
by the Prophet Isaiah the heavy burden of God's 
judgment, that all those his treasures and his children 
should be carried captive to Babylon. 

But it is fuU of the deepest interest, and very con- 
solatory to observe in the failings of good men, that 
they continue not in sin, but immediately and tho- 

' 2 Chron. xxzii. 31* 


roughly repent. So was it with the royal Penitent, 
who on the prophet Nathan coming unto him said, 
** I have sinned ;" so with him who, when he saw his 
Lord's look, " went out and wept bitterly ;" so now 
with King Hezekiah. " Notwithstanding," says the 
account, " Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of 
his heart'." And in the prophet Jeremiah it is 
referred to as a signal instance of humiliation on being 
reproved. "Did not Hezekiah king of Judah fear 
the Lord, and besought the Lord, and the Lord re- 
pented Him of the evil which He had pronounced* ?" 
The very words of the good king on receiving the terrible 
tidings of woe are extremely touching and beautiful. 
" Then said Hezekiah unto Isaiah, Good is the word 
of the Lord which thou hast spoken. And he said,. 
Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days* ?'* 
As Job, on seeing the extremity of his distress, arose 
and said, " Blessed be the Name of the Lord ! " As 
Eli on hearing the awful sentence which Samuel had 
feared to tell him, said, " It is the Lord ; let Him do 
what seemeth Him good." So now does the good 
Hezekiah in like manner love that hand which waB 
stretched out to punish him ; and in seeing and loving 
God has more joy in that severe chastening than 
worldly men have in their prosperity. 

And here let us again pause to reflect on this in- 
teresting history. How wonderfully do all things 
work together for good for them that love God. " O 
the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and know- 
ledge of God ! How unsearchable are His judgments, 
and His ways past finding outM" We might have 

» 2 Chron. xxxii. 26. • Jer. xxvi. 19. 

1 2 Kings XX. 19. > Rom. xi. 33. 

8 2 


supposed that; all tliis great evil had been brought on 
Hezekiah when Gk)d hj His prophet had said he 
should die, and he prayed for longer life; yet who 
shall say that the evil outweighed and counterba- 
lanced the good ? "Who shall say that a good man by 
his prayers could make a net for his own feet ? it may 
be so, yet God, in delivering him from the same, may 
strengthen him yet the more, set his feet upon a rock 
And order his goings, and put a new song into his 
mouth, even the song of the Lamb. " Thy right hand 
«hall hold me up, and Thy loving correction shall 
in£^e me great '." 

If we have in our hearts desires and prayers that 
are not after Gk)d, we have reason to fear lest G-od 
should answer us according to those our desires and 
prayers. But His mercies are so great, that He has 
compassion on these our infirmities, and answers us 
not according to our own desires, but according to 
His own love. Eor it is indeed most pleasing to Him 
that we should pray to Him for all things, not only 
for the highest and best, such as our own eternal 
happiness and the life with God; but also for the 
lower wants of our human life and the objects of our 
natural desires ; and so great is His goodness that He 
is often pleased with such prayers and in answer to 
them gives not merely the precise objects we pray for, 
but something better instead, something that we 
shall in the end value infinitely more. But at the 
same time if we pray for human things God may give 
them us, when it would have been His wish that 
we should have loved and prayed for objects more 
worthy. Yet to turn to Him always is good ; He sees 

* Ps. xTiiu 35. 


US seeking other things than Himself, and pities us, 
and gives us even these weak desires that they may 
become to us greater good. How good is God! 
May He give us to desire and pray for what is best ; 
or, may He answer our prayers not according to our 
own desires, but according to His own great goodness. 
Or He may blend them both together and convert our 
own weak human desires to His own high purposes 
infinitely great and good. Thus was it with the 
prayer of Hezekiah; if the wicked King Manasseh 
was bom to him because he asked for the lengthening 
of his days ; yet also by the same means may it have 
been brought about that Christ should be bom of his 
lineage ; for Hezekiah, together with his son Manasseh, 
is numbered among the fathers of Christ according to 
the flesh *. 

Moreover, if after his sickness Hezekiah fell into 
sin, yet, as we have seen, his humiliation and repent- 
ance was great ; and his faith thereby strengthened to 
do great things by the power of prayer. He was 
taught by bitter experience not to trust in himself but 
in the Living God ; and thus not only to be numbered 
among the Saints of God ; but also with those great 
penitents, as his father David, and St. Peter the chief 
of Apostles, and St. Paul of Christian teachers; 
to whom it was given to know that there is no true 
life but in the atoning Blood of Christ. 

"When Hezekiah with the riches of the temple 
bought off Sennacherib, and when he showed his trea- 
sures to the ambassadors from Babylon, the fault in 
him that needed correction may have been the same, 
that he relied on such things more than a good man 

* According to the lineage in St. Matthew. See St. Matt. i. 10* 


ought to do. His faith in God required correcting, 
purifying, enlarging. And it is to be observed that 
although in the Bible the account of the destruction 
of Sennacherib's army is given before the sickness of 
Hezekiah, yet in point of time it is supposed by some 
to have occurred afterwards. And if so, that prayer 
of faith which overwhelmed the Assyrian armies was 
after his humiliation. 

And it may be that the mystery of that circumstance, 
sentence of death having gone forth from God, and 
then recalled by his prayer, consisted in this, that 
therein is signified the death of Christ and His resur- 
rection ; that the strength of this good man was owing 
to his thus being by a sort of figure and resemblance 
united with Christ crucified; he had done much in 
restoring the worship of God, he spoke of the good he 
had done, but at the door of death he had a lesson to 
learn of greater perfection than any to which he had 
attained, and this was granted to his prayers. It was 
the power of Christ's resurrection which he had to 
learn. " I will hear thee in the time of trouble, and 
thou shalt praise Me." It was that which St. Paul 
had to practise daily. " We had sentence of death in 
ourselves that we should not trust in ourselves, but in 
God which raiseth the dead *." 

blessed wisdom of the grave, to be learned by 
being with Him " Who offered up prayers with strong 
crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him 
from death, and was heard in that He feared *." " I 
have walked," said Hezekiah, "before Thee with a 
perfect heart '," but in that confession there was no 

» 2 Chron. i. 9. • Heb. v. 7. 

7 Isa. xxxviii. 3. 


peace, no rest; and the sentence of death was upon 
him ; for he knew not as yet that there was no per- 
fection in man but in deeper humiliation at beholding 
the Crucified ; but in that after and second life, when 
" on the third day he went up unto the House of the 
Lord," in that new covenant respited from the second 
death, he came to understand how weak is man and 
how strong is God. "After two days," saith the 
prophet Hosea, "will He revive us: in the third 
day He will raise us up, and we shall live in 
His sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to 
know the Lord •.'* Oh, let not the pride of life, nor 
the riches of this passing world, nor apparent secu- 
rity, wrest away the heart again or lead it to forget 
that hour when eternity knocked at the door ! Alas, 
that aught again should loosen that hope, the anchor 
of the soul ; should dim that vision of peace, which 
in the sun that is stayed in its going down hath 
the pledge of redeemed life. O blessed lesson, to un- 
learn this life, and to learn that better life which is with 
God ! And happy the penitent who as qne alive from 
the dead is at the feet of his Deliverer, of Him Who 
hath the keys of death and of hell ! Yet a little while, 
and " thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall 
thy moon withdraw itself ; for the Lord shall be thine 
everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall 
be ended V 

» Hosea vi. 2, 3. » Isa. Ix. 20. 



2 Chron. xxxiv. 27. 

** Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself 
before God, when thou heardest His words against this place, 
and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself be- 
fore Me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before Me ; I 
have even heard thee also, saith the Lord." 

When the ten tribes of Israel had been carried awaj 
captive, and the like judgments were drawing on upon 
Jerusalem, there were two remarkable kings, Hezekiah 
and Josiah, both described in much the same language 
as walking in the ways of their father David, both as 
pre-eminent above all other kings before and after. 
"We read of both labouring to restore the worship of 
God, to destroy idolatry, both keeping a great pass- 
over, both accepted of God, but unable to avert His 
coming wrath &om Jerusalem. But in Josiah there 
is something peculiarly affecting : his early youth, for 
" in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet 
young," i. e. but sixteen years of age, " he began to 
seek after the God of David his father * :" the extreme 

^ 2 Chron. xxxiv. 3. 



ace and darkness which had overwhelmed the 
aoa ; for the finding of the Book of the Law in the 
Dple, Beeras to have been a great discoyerj as of 
aething altogether forgotten and lost ; his exceed- 
zeal aud earnestness in instantly doing with his 
pTrbole heart whatever he knew to be right ; but in all 
^flnd above all his singular tenderness of spirit. Such 
is seen in his consternation on learning the contents 
of the Book of Moses that was found ; and his send- 
ing in consequence to inquire not of priest, or pro- 
phet, or scribe, for he seems to have known of none 
to send to, but to "Huldah the prophetess, the wife 
of Shallum, the keeper of his wardrobe." A woman, 
the youthful king, and her answer to himself from 
God in the words of the text are very expressive ; and 
may serine to afford us a sad description of the state 
of the age in which they were spoken ; and they also 
fiimiah U3 briefly with the whole character of Josiah. 
He waa so tender of heart, that he humbled himself 
and rent his clothes and wept — not for his own sins — 
but for those of his forefathers and his people; he 
thus humbled himself and wept before God, and 
trembled on account of God's words. beautiful 
spirit of sacred sorrow, so richly fraught with the 
BBing of them that mourn ! 
. strong contrast to this we have a circumstance 
oned of his son Jehoiakim, in the prophet Jere- 
the word of God was sent to him by the pro- 
"80 the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll. 
Jehudi read it in the ears of the king. And 
, he had read three or four leaves the king cut it 
, the penknife and cast it into the fire that was 
i hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the 
that was on the hearth. Yet they were not 

266 JosiAH. 

afraid, nor rent their garmenta, neither the king nor 
any of his servants that heard all these words*." 
In this remarkable instance there was a sure token of 
God's heaviest judgments coming on because they 
feared not His words ; and so likewise in the case of 
this good King Josiah, because he feared when he 
heard the words of God, and took them home to his 
heart with such grief and humility, he was gathered 
into the sure protection and mercy of Almighty 

These words which he heard were those of Moses, — 
the Book which he commanded to be placed in " the ark 
of the covenant " to be "a witness against them*," — 
words which we ourselves hear, and have heard ; they 
speak to us as much as they did to him ; they speak 
with the light of the Gospel filling every letter, so 
that the very characters are fire and light : we are to 
bind them about us so as to clothe as it were every 
part of us ; to be a witness against us if we do evil. 
Do we hear them with a like awe and humiliation ? 
Alas, is it not the very character of our age that with- 
out fear it takes on itself to judge God's word, rather 
than be judged by it ? 

But now it must be observed that all this goodness 
of King Josiah and that of Hezekiah before him did 
not prevent the destruction of Jerusalem ; they may 
have delayed it, relieved it, and perhaps the remem- 
brance of these good kings, and of that repentance 
which they brought about, may have been connected 
with the restoration of Jerusalem after the captivity ; 
for the kingdom of Israel where there were no such 
kings was never restored. But to all appearance 

» Jer. xxxf i. 21-*24. » See Deut. xxxi. 26. 

josiAH. 267 

God's threatened judgment came on Jerusalem not- 
withstanding all the intercessions and labours of the 
good King Josiah. And not only this but under a 
sense of that coming judgment and in that state of 
things in which he was bom, Josiah had to sustain a 
heavy burden all his days. And eren too unto his 
death, for although God had promised him this one 
thing only, that He would gather him to his grave in 
peace; yet that did not save him from dying a 
violent death, a death indeed in its circumstances very 
much like that of the wicked Ahab. For in an un- 
successful battle with the king of Egypt at Megiddo, 
he was wounded as it were by an accidental hand, for 
he had disguised himself in the battle, and was carried 
home and died *. So that even in that which came 
especially under God*s promise, as the Preacher says, 
"there is one event to the righteous, and to the 
wicked *." 

Yet who could be in greater favour with God than 
this good King Josiah, tender-hearted and humble, of 
such a temper as the Holy Spirit chooses above all 
others for His own ; of that meek spirit which is of 
great price with God; how could He not set on him 
the seal of His especial favour and love ? Some in- 
deed consider his very name to signify the " sacrifice 
of God." Such a character is meet beyond any to be 
a sacrifice and a victim ; and as such in some faint 
way to resemble Christ ; Who was a " man of sor- 
rows," as " a root out of a dry ground ;" Whose days 
were " cut oflf out of the land of the living ;" Who 
made " His grave with the wicked :" Who wept over 
that destruction coming on Jerusalem, which all His 

* 2 Chron. xxxv. 22. 24. » Eccles. ix. 2. 

268 JOsiAH. 

calls to repentance and all His intercessions averted 
not ; Who was eaten up by a zeal for God's bouse. 
Nay, we are reminded of the day of Judgment itself 
in the good King Josiah, when he came to Bethel, 
where the idolatrous calves had been, but which now 
had long departed together with that guilty nation 
itself that worshipped them. He came and had the 
graves opened, and men's bones burnt on the altar ; 
and in those their graves made a distinction between 
the righteous and the wicked. He had been called of 
God for this purpose three hundred years before; 
and the burden of this judgment was laid upon him 
before he was bom *. As Cyrus designated by name 
in prophecy as the " Shepherd' " of God's people, for 
the restoration of the dry bones of Judah, so was 
Josiah to execute His judgments, and even as it were 
anointed and sanctified by His Spirit for this awful 
type of the great Judgment. "I the Lord have 
called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, 
and will help thee *." " I have called thee by thy 
name, thou art Mine." 

Thus did this blameless king labour to restore his 
people, and they were willing " for a season to rejoice 
in his light." Tea, thus did he strive to undo what 
was done, and to expiate the evil of Israel even as it 
were beyond the grave ; even the sins of Solomon ', 
and the sins of Jeroboam ; yet as to himself did it 
appear as if his candle were put out in obscure dark- 
ness ; by a Pharaoh of Egypt slain, and by a Pharaoh 
of Egypt his throne given away. The very Scripture 
that describes all his goodness after declaring that 

< 1 Kings xiii. 2. ' Isa. xliv. 28. 

* Isa. xlli. 6. '2 Kings xxiii. 13. 

JOSiAH. 269 

there was none like Him, '' that turned to the Lord 
with all his heart," yet adds to the account, " Not- 
withstanding the Lord turned not &om the fierceness 
of His great wrath." 

Now a consideration of this, the holy and sweet, 
yet awful and sad life of Josiah, may much correct 
our view of human things; God declares that He 
visits the sins of fathers upon their children ; it is so 
throughout the Scriptures ; last Sunday * we read of 
the seventy sons of Ahab slain by Jehu, as if they had 
been guilty of some great crime, because they were 
the sons of Ahab : we see it is so in the world ; and if 
so it must be God's doing, because it is His world. 
What is much more, we see righteous men bom to a 
sad inheritance of woe; kings blameless and holy, 
weighed down all their days by the sins of their fore- 
fathers ; and again princes suffering for their people's 
sins, and people for the sins of their princes. Tea, 
more, the meekness and holiness of kings have made 
them the more meet victims of suflfering : they have 
been made on that very account to bear the heavy 
burden. It may be that Satan sees upon them the 
mark of Christ ; and therefore directs against them 
all his assaults, but God through the Cross turns all 
to good. Because they are holy they suffer ; and be- 
cause they suffer they are made the more holy. Their 
light indeed is put out ; and the world goes on as it 
did before. But shall we say that they have lived in 
vain ; for themselves, for their people, for their God ? 
Surely this cannot be so. We know that the only 
strength of the world is Christ ; and this the apparent 
failure of good men, bears a resemblance to Christ. 

^ Preached on the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity. 

270 JOSIAH. 

He also bore the sins of others, not His own. He, 
the Beloved of God, the strength of God, the Life of 
the world, appeared as in weakness, and sorrow, and 
cut off before His time prematurely as one that had 
failed of his mission. It was said of good King J^siah 
that he should go down to his grave in peace, yet 
in one sense it was not peace, but a sword. Yet 
when we put this by the side of Christ Crucified, 
we may say surely that good king died in peace. 
By dying he entered into peace, a peace-maker with 
God, reconciling Him to His people, the sacrifice 
of peace. He was taken from the evil to come ; he 
died in peace; and while nothing but trouble and 
anguish was on his people, he himself was with God. 
" In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die ; and 
their departure is taken for misery ; but they are in 
peace '." 

" The righteous perisheth," saith the prophet, " and 
merciful men are taken away, none considering that 
the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. 
He shall enter into peace ^" And his memory was 
blessed. "The remembrance of Josiah," it is said, 
" is sweet as honey in all mouths, and as music at a 
banquet of wine ^" A solemn lamentation was written 
of him by the Prophet Jeremiah, and singing men and 
women commemorated and spoke of Josiah *. Nor is 
this all that connects it with Christ Crucified ; for in 
that memorable prophecy in Zechariah, where he speaks 
of Jerusalem " looking upon Him Whom they have 
pierced, and mourning as for an only son, every family 
apart," he says that this shall be as the mourning for 

a Wisd. ill. 2, 3. » Isa. Ivii. 1, 2, 

* EccluB. xlix. 1. '2 Chron. xxxv. 15. 

JOSIAH. 271 

Josiah " in the valley of Megiddon." The mourning 
for Christ Crucified is as the mourning for Josiah 
slain . The shadow of that all-atoning death covers him. 

We must not think then that Josiah failed, or that 
such as he could fail in their life or in their death. 
On the contrary, we are hereby taught with awe and 
wonder to raise our minds to the greatness of their 
crown, their strength that is among men, and their 
reward that is with God. For of them the world is 
not worthy ; they are the salt of the earth which pre- 
serves it from corruption ; they are the light set on a 
hill which cannot be hid; they shine like stars for 
ever and ever giving light unto the world. The doc- 
trine of Christ Crucified will teach us not to judge of 
the success of such men by what appeared in their 
lives ; it may be more precious and lasting than man 
can judge of. Even in their temporal failure there 
may have been a life and restoration from the dead in 
that for which they laboured. "Thy work shall be 
rewarded, saith the Lord ; and they shall come again 
from the land of the enemy ; and there is hope in thine 
end'." In the destruction of Judah there is hope, 
but not in that of the nations. In like manner with 
regard to ourselves, who can tell whether our having 
the Church among us here at this day may not be 
owing to some good king of this nation, who may have 
lived and died as a martyr to the faith of Christ ? 

Nor is the crown and the blessing of God which 
awaits good men like King Josiah such as this world can 
take account of: it is far too great and good for that ; 
for their reward is with G^d ; such as eye hath not seen, 
nor ear heard, nor heart of man imagined. Their end 

« Jer. xzzL 16, 17. 

272 JosiAH. 

and their beginning is with Christ in God. Througli 
apparent failure they are purified and strengthened to 
obtain that crown. And thus we may see in the 
account of Josiah ; he humbled himself and wept at the 
words found in the Book of God ; and when on sending 
to Huldah the prophetess she entirely confirmed those 
words, by saying that the judgments therein threat- 
eiled on Jerusalem should not be averted, but should 
in their awful fulness come on that people ; — the good 
king did not on that account slacken his zeal and 
exertions or sit down in despair; but immediately 
'^ with all his heart and with all his soul " brought all 
his people into covenant with God. He said not, It 
is in vain to serve the Lord, for He has and He will 
cast us ofi*. But he wrought a thorough and entire 
repentance^through all his kingdom, both of Judah and 
of Israel too, and left the issue with God. 

And observe what was the praise of God which 
marks this good king; perhaps no one in any age 
or nation ever made so entire a reformation, and that 
at so youthful an age as Josiah, both in the house and 
worship of God in His Temple, and also through all 
that nation, cutting off every root and branch that 
remained of idolatry and profaneness, restoring all as 
far as in him lay to obedience. Yet it is not this 
which is mentioned as rendering him so acceptable in 
the judgment of God ; but — " because thine heart was 
tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, 
when thou heardest His words, and didst rend thy 
clothes and weep." For it is not the outward actions 
which God weighs, but the heart from which they pro- 
ceed. It; is not so difficult to find works of religion 
and charity as to find a humble spirit that fears God's 
words. A contrite heart that reverences His word is 

J08IAH. 273 

with God the best sacrifice ; and as it is of such price 
with God it is so verj rare amongst men. Measuring 
himself not by what he had done, but by what he would 
have wished to do, and by that love which is infinite as 
the nature of God, he speaks not of his doings, but 
oppressed with a sense of his short-comings, he puts 
his hand on his mouth and is silent, or says, God be 
merciful to me a sinner ! 

K any one might glory in works it were the good 
Josiah ; for his works were especially those of religion, 
such as had a direct reference to the service of God, 
the restoring His Temple and worship, and this not 
for mere external service, but accompanied with deep 
calls to repentance, of which he himself set the most 
lively example ; if therefore any had works on which 
to rest his claim for Divine favour it was this righteous 
king. It is not service that God requires, but ser- 
vants ;— not service, for what can our service be to 
Him ? — but servants whom He may love in Christ, on 
whom He may bestow His love ; and they that tremble 
at His word, who look to Him in tenderness of spirit, 
these are the servants in whom He delights, as ready 
for His service, and meet to receive His love. 

In the history of all His saints He writes that no 
flesh shall glory in His presence ; and in holding them 
up for our example He reminds us of this, for there is 
no one without fault either in life or condition. To 
say nothing of the earlier patriarchs, Moses was not 
altogether accepted ; Job, though a perfect man, is 
known for his afflictions; Samuel had to mourn; 
David was bowed to earth with his repentance ; Solo- 
n\on grievously sinned; Hezekiah was not without 
blame ; and Josiah's praise is that he humbled himself 
and rent his clothes, and not this only, but his '' sun 


274 JosiAH. 

went down while it was yet day," and a nigbt of sorrow 
came on its close. 

One observation more. What light does the history 
of Josiah afford us in our present perplexities ? The 
revival of religion which has taken place in these days, 
the restoration of the houses of God, and care of His 
worship, together with calls to repentance and to the 
ancient paths, and this too after a deep sleep and much 
corruption and decay of faith, all this so far turns 
our eyes to that pause in the declension of Judah. 
Such a call may not be responded to, or may be 
responded to for a time, and then the light go out ; 
on all this it were needless and presiunptuous to 
speculate ; but even if it were fruitless, and to end in 
darkness yet worse than before, we are taught by the 
history of this good king not to despair, not to give 
over ; but it may correct and purify our views to know 
what to look to. We are not then to congratulate 
ourselves over much on the restoration of external 
worship as if it were any worthy end or object in itself, 
but rather to look to tenderness and humiliation of 
heart before God ; let the other follow if it will, it is 
of no value without this, but this of itself without that 
is of value inestimable. Moreover, we see in this 
history that no temporal prosperity, no personal or 
national success, no setting up or saving of kingdoms 
can serve as a test of God's acceptance : the matter is 
of far too great importance for this ; — it is of eternity, 
of Heaven and Hell, of dwelling for ever with God or 
with His enemies ; of being united in life and in death 
with One Whose life and death was in human eyes 
covered with sorrow and shame. 



j£R. ix. 1, 2. 

'' Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of 
tears, that I miglit weep day and night for the slain of the 
daughter of my people ! Oh that I had in the wilderness a 
lodging place of wayfaring men ; that I might leave my people 
and go from them 1" 

I HATE chosen these words of the text as expressing 
the character itself and life of the prophet Jeremiah. 
He lived in the time of the good king Josiah ; both were 
as children called of God ; and engaged in the same 
work of reformation before the judgments came on 
Jerusalem. The one sets forth the kingly, and the 
other the prophetic office, which were both found 
combined in Christ. 

But Jeremiah not only represents Christ as a pro- 
phet, but that peculiar designation of Him as such 
which is expressed by Moses : " The Lord thy God 
will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of 
thee, of thy brethren, like unto me^" "Of thy 
brethren," one peculiarly full of brotherly affections ; 

* Deut. xviii. 15. 
T 2 


and " from the midst of thee," i. e. " the Son of man," 
nay, the "man of sorrows," one in Himself all hu- 
manity ; and yet more, " like unto me," even as the 
meekest of men, as if to mark yet more strongly this 
characteristic. Our Blessed Saviour was beyond all 
men full of human tenderness, compassionate, such as 
was represented by the living Body stretched upon 
the dead; with limb answering to limb; the feeling 
with the unfeeling; the warm with the cold; thus 
was He full of sympathy with our infirmities, as alive 
in every part with a fellow-feeling for us. He was 
clothed all over, and compassed about on every side 
with pity, such as one most tender-hearted amongst 
mankind feels in the most intimate relations of life ; 
as a mother, as a brother, as an husband. And this 
rendered Him as a victim so full of sorrow and " ac- 
quainted with grief," when He came to a people about 
to be overwhelmed with the consequences of their 
sins. " In all their affliction He was afflicted." In a 
manner most intimate, deep, and penetrative, "He hath 
borne our griefs and carried our sorrows." We 
might conceive it otherwise; God might have exe- 
cuted His judgments, as a stem Judge, Himself un- 
moved. But it is not so ; the Judge Himself bears 
the heavy burden; and has made Himself one with 
us that He might carry our griefs. Now all this 
speaks to us through Jeremiah ; his natural character 
was peculiarly suited for this ; he was chosen and 
sanctified from his mother's womb for this purpose. 
So that there was more meaning in it than they knew 
who, when they saw our Lord's sufferings and com- 
passions, said it was " Jeremiah *." Not only that it 

St. Matt xvi. 14. 


was " one of the prophets " arisen from the dead, but 
especially mentioning Jeremiah. 

It was, I observe, founded in the natural disposition 
of Jeremiah, hallowed of Qod for this end before his 
birth. " Before I formed thee in the belly," said God, 
"and before thou camest forth out of the womb 
I sanctified thee, and ordained thee a prophet'." 
Hence his writings are marked especially with this 
character throughout. Eor though these prophecies 
are the Word of God speaking to us thereby; yet 
they partake throughout of the prophet's own natural 
mind. Like as the light of the sun falling through a 
painted window; it is still the light of the sun 
though it partakes of the colour through which it 
passes to us. Thus Jeremiah is considered by the 
ancients to be in the words of one of them, "the 
most inclined to pity of all the prophets *." 

The times in which he lived were exceedingly sad ; 
his whole life was intimately connected vnth the ruin 
and breaking down of the people of Israel, filling up 
the measure of their iniquities, adding sin to sin, and 
with it increasing their miseries and sorrows to the 
last. The good king was cut off as too good for that 
people, but the prophet remained. Jeremiah continued 
with them throughout even to the last remnant that 
was left in Israel, and afterwards with that remnant 
doomed to judgment in Egypt. The King of Babylon 
would have done him honour, and kept him in safety 
and peace ; but he stayed behind, as if to the last dregs 
drinking with them of their cup of sorrows. This 
was of itself very mournful and distressing; but it 
was that heart in Jeremiah so full of tender sym- 

* Jer. L 5. ^ St Greg. Naz. Orat. zviL 


pathies which increased the intensity of his sufferings. 
It is therefore in this respect that he so especiaUj 
brings home to us the sorrows of Christ : as the good 
Samaritan, stopping to take care of the wounded man, 
and putting him on his own beast ; as suffering with 
us and for us. He says in the Lamentations, *' I am 
the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of His 
wrath *." This is spoken by the Prophet of himself, 
and of Christ ; it is spoken of them both in their 
suffering with the suffering Israel of God. And this 
may be seen throughout the Lamentations of Jere- 
miah. When it is there said, " Is it nothing to you, 
all ye that pass by ? behold, and see if there be any 
sorrow like unto my sorrow ' : " — then we see at once 
that it is spoken of Him who " bare them and carried 
them all the days of old^." Nor is all this any thing 
that is passed and gone. It is to every human soul 
that the Word of God speaks in Jeremiah ; speaks of 
the compassions of God towards him in Christ; it 
speaks of Christ ; and at the same time it is Christ 
Himself therein speaking to each one ; and drawing 
out His expressions of infinite concern and mercy. 

Our Lord is represented in a well-known picture 
as the good Shepherd taking a lost sheep out of the 
thorns ; and Himself in so doing as wearing a crown 
of thorns with a bleeding countenance. It is this 
throughout that speaks in the prophet Jeremiah. It 
is the bleeding Shepherd extricating His lost sheep 
from among the thorns of the world. It is purposely 
so ordered of God; the penitent of all ages and 
countries in studying the Bible in order to know God 

* Lam. iii. 1. • Lam. i. 12. 

' Isa. Ixiii. 9. 


and himself, does naturally read the Prophet Jere- 
miah under this impression; whether he stops to 
contemplate the fact or no, so it is ; the feeling with 
which a devout person looks on that representation of 
Christ, of which I am speaking, is like that which the 
reverential reader experiences when hearing in Jere- 
miah the voice of the good Shepherd. 

Nor is this all, for Jeremiah was in the meanwhile 
made also like unto Christ in suffering himself from 
others, while he suffered with them and for them ; for 
as a witness of God he was hated, smitten, impri- 
soned, and at last, it is supposed, stoned to death. 
Indeed, that he should have lived so long among them 
was like a continual miracle vouchsafed to him of 
God, "Who gave him this promise. "Gird up thy 
loins, and arise and speak unto them — be not dis- 
mayed at their faces — for behold I have made thee a 
defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls 
against the whole land: . . . and they shall fight 
against thee, but they shall not prevail'." This was 
repeated to him more than once. Thus he was made 
to suffer, and preserved in life that he might suffer, in 
bearing the heavy burden of God ; to exhibit unto us 
our Lord Himself. For instance, how like as of 
Christ Himself are these words, " I was like a lamb or 
an ox that is brought to the slaughter ; and I knew 
not that they had devised devices against me, saying. 
Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof, and let 
us cut him off from the land of the living," . . . "but 
O Lord of hosts, that judgest righteously, . . . unto 
Thee have I revealed my cause." And this was said 
by the prophet of the men of Anathoth, the prophet's 

» Jer.i. 17, 18; xv. 19, 20. 

280 JEBXMIA^. 

own native place who were seeking his life •. And in 
like manner it was the men of Nazareth, His own city, 
who first attempted our Lord's life. " He came unto 
His own, but His own received Him not.'* Now it is 
then this home relation, this tenderness of human 
pity, these the motherly compassions of Him that 
was bom of woman, not of man, this love of Christ 
compassing about the soul of man, that Jeremiah 
speaks throughout. The very first mention of him is 
of this character. As Josiah was but a child on 
coming to the throne, and when he sent to Huldah 
the prophetess ; so Jeremiah when called to his high 
oflice says, " Ah, Lord God, behold, I cannot speak : 
for I am a child." Thus was represented the Gospel, 
strong in weakness. It speaks of the times in which, as 
the Prophet Isaiah describes, a little " child shall lead 
them * ;" — when a little chQd was set in the midst of 
Apostles, as their example, and as the greatest in the 
kingdom of Heaven. 

And then after the Prophet Jeremiah is thus called 
and strengthened with the promised protection of 
God, what an exceeding tenderness is there in the 
first words which he delivers from God to His people : 
how do they serve to express the character of all his 
prophecies which follow ? " Go and cry in the ears of 
Jerusalem, saying. Thus saith the Lord, I remember 
thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine 
espousals, when thou wentest after Me in the wilder- 
ness." "What iniquity have your fathers found in 
Me, that they are gone far from Me ' ?" Wonderful 
to say, it is God that thus speaks, and not man, but 

9 Jer. xi. 19. 21. > Isa. xi. 6. 

' Jer. ii. 2. 6. 


BO full of human affections, that we hear Him in His 
prophet while His prophet himself speaks. And 
sometimes the prophet turns himself to Qod, as it 
were in surprise at these messages of God which 
he has to bear. "Ah, Lord God," he says, 
"Thou showest loving-kindness unto thousands," 
"the Great, the Mighty God, the Lord of hosts is 
His Name V 

But more particularly, — with regard to that ex- 
pression, "I remember thee, the kindness of thy 
youth, the love of thine espousals," — it is this figura- 
tive allusion to lost affection, and to the remem- 
brances of " first love," which is so common in this 
prophet. And that usual image under which the 
grief of Christ is expressed by him, is that of all the 
most bitter, most intimately reaching the affections of 
the human heart, that of an husband bewailing an 
unfaithful wife. " Can a maid forget her ornaments, 
or a bride her attire ? yet My people have forgotten 
Me days without number. Why trimmest thou thy 
way to seek love?" " Why gaddest thou about so 
much to change thy way*?" And again, "What 
hath My beloved to do in Mine house, seeing she hath 
wrought lewdness with many*?" "Turn, O back- 
sliding children, for I am married unto you." And 
further on ; " Surely as a wife treacherously departeth 
from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with 
Me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord." " Eetum, ye 
backsliding children, and I will heal your back- 
slidings '." Now all this is typical and expressive of 
the dealings of Christ with a human soul. His inti- 

' Jep. xxxii. 18. * Jer. ii. 32. 36. 

' Jer. xi. 15. > Jer. iii. 14. 20. 22. 


mate relation to it, His tender, unwearied love. It 
speaks in every part of a life nourished by the death 
of Christ, which has its existence in His flesh and 
blood ; and cannot be sustained but in Him ; the 
Bride taken as it were from His bleeding side in 
death. And alas ! it speaks also of the unfaithfulness 
which we are to expect even in the members of His 

Frequent also in this prophet are expressions 
drawn from another most tender of human relation- 
ships, that of a parent. " Wilt thou not from this 
time cry unto Me, My father. Thou art the guide 
of my youth?'* And again, "But I said, How 
shall I put thee among the children, and give thee 
a pleasant land?'* "And I said. Thou shalt call 
Me, My father ; and shalt not turn away from Me ^*' 
The full force, too, of this figure can only be 
known in that new relationship into which we 
Christians have been brought as children of Gk)d, 
saying by the Spirit, Abba, Father. It anti- 
cipates those appeals to us in our Lord's Sermon 
on the Mount on God's more than fatherly 
love; throughout the whole of which we are ad- 
dressed as the children of our Father which is in 

But even when these figures of natural affection 
are not used, and the prophet speaks in his own 
person, it is of a like spirit and character of tender- 
hearted compassion, even unto death. " When I 
would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint 
in me*.'* "But if ye will not hear it, my soul 
shall weep in secret places for your pride ; and mine 

' Jer. iu. 4. 19. ' Jer. viiL 18. 


eyes shall weep sore*." Must we not think that 
this opens to us some intimation of our Lord's 
own secret sorrows; of the heavy untold anguish 
which was in the bitterness of that cup which He 
drank? of His "sighs," of His "groaning deeply 
in spirit," of His " strong crying and tears ?" And 
from expostulating with his people, the prophet turns 
in a like strain to expostulate with God Himself 
in their behalf, making himself one with that sinful 
people. "O Lord, though our iniquities testify 
against us ; for we have sinned against Thee." " O 
the hope of Israel, the Saviour thereof in time of 
trouble, why shouldest Thou be a stranger in the 
land, and as a wayfaring man that tumeth aside 
to tarry for a night ? "Why shouldest thou be as a 
man astonied, as a mighty man that cannot save P 
Yet Thou, Lord, art in the midst of us, and 
we are called by Thy name ; leave us not '." 

There is indeed in this prophet great sadness, 
almost verging on despair, for had he not reason 
for despair ? " Can the Ethiopian," says he, " change 
his skin, or the leopard his spots ? then may ye also 
do good, that are accustomed to do evil." Sinking 
under the heavy burden, he curses the day wherein he 
was born ^ Yet it is not all of this character, very 
much the reverse. 

As our Lord, when His hour was come, and the 
night of His great sorrow, spake so much of com- 
fort to His disciples ; and looking beyond the cloud 
rejoiced under that great tribulation, and spake more 
than ever of peace ; so this His prophet, who speaks 

' Jer. xiii. 17- * Jer. xiv. 7- 9- 

' Jer. xiii. 23 ; xx. 14. 


80 much of His sorrows, turns also at last to the 
consolations that ate in Christ; and descries the 
morning of Eesurrection illumining the night of 
the grave. He sees no longer the captivity, but 
the restoration beyond it, and in that restoration 
the pledges and types of the Gt)spel; "Fear thou 
not, O Jacob My servant, saith the Lord ; for I am 
with thee; for I will make a full end of all the 
nations whither I have driven thee ; but I will not 
make a full end of thee^.'* Strange that there is 
no part of Scripture so full of comfort as those 
chapters in St. John's Gk)8pel on the saddest of all 
sad nights, when our Lord, under the sense of that 
coming agony, gave His Body and Blood to His 
disciples. So full is all the account of joy and 
thanksgiving, and yet at the same time of unspeak- 
able sorrow. In like manner, perhaps, there are 
no passages in Scripture, unless it be those our 
Lord's last Eucharistic discourses, so eloquent of 
love and consolations as the Slst chapter of Jeremiah, 
— and we may add the 33rd also. No words can 
be found in any language of more touching beauty 
than all that strain. And indeed so similar in tone 
is it to those passages I have spoken of in the 
Gospel, that it is chosen by our Church for the 
Evening Lesson of that Thursday night in the Holy 
Week. The prophet, in bearing the good tidings, 
speaks as one awakening after a deliverance from some 
terrible afliiction. For he had said, " Woe unto us ! 
for the day goeth away ; for the shadows of evening 
are stretched out." He had said, "I am black; 
astonishment hath taken hold on me'." But now, 

* Jer. xlvL 28. • Jer. vi 4; viii. 21, 

JEBXMtAH. 285 

in the 31st chapter, he says, " Upon this I awaked, 
and beheld, and my sleep was sweet unto me." 
All is changed, the very tenderness of his former 
woes adds to the intensity of the expressions of 
joy. " Eachel weeping for her children " is comforted, 
and they are come again from death. Ephraim is 
again remembered as a dear son, and received with 
the overflowing compassions of a father. The virgin 
of Israel hath come again. In their heart is written 
holiness by the finger of G-od, and their sins are 
remembered no more. With weeping and suppli- 
cations do they come, but they shall sorrow no more 
at all. " I have loved thee with an everlasting love ; 
therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee." 
Nay, yet more than this, " the nations of the earth 
shall hear all the good that I do,'* "they shall fear 
and tremble for all the goodness." The voice of 
joy, the voice of the Bridegroom, and the voice of 
the Bride shall be heard, and of them that say, 
" Praise the Lord, for He is good '." Such are but 
allusions to that outpouring strain of consolation 
and joy with which this prophet speaks in the deso- 
lations of Judah. 

The Prophet Jeremiah is much to be considered 
in days like the present, when "the overflowings 
of ungodliness make us afraid" of what is coming 
on; and by means of the Press, "the fiery darts 
of the wicked one" are weekly and daily spread 
abroad, encompass us on all sides, and forcibly bring 
before us the character of the days in which we 
live. In these the tenderness of Jeremiah, the hatred 
of evil together witb so much compassion, such 

' Jer. xxziii. 

286 JS££MIi.H. 

appeals to God, and from God to man, such prajers 
for those who pray not for themselves, are most sea- 
sonable. He will teach us sorrow rather than anger ; 
expostulation instead of desponding silence. But 
this, after all, is but a secondary study of this 
prophet. It is as setting forth the compassions of 
Christ towards ourselves, His love for the Christian 
soul which He has so dearly purchased. His intimate 
knowledge of it and regard for it. And as arising 
out of this, we learn from him in the second place, 
the compassion we ourselves ought to have for others, 
and especially in reproving and correcting them. 
For in this all God's people in one sense are pro- 
phets; in that by the Spirit of God they ought to 
improve and reform each other. And this can never 
be done effectually, unless it is with much charity, 
and in the fear of God. 

A Christian must be in the world, like his Master, 
a "man of sorrows," not merely on account of his 
own personal sufferings, but because he is in a sin- 
ful world ; and the more holy he becomes, the more 
must he be " acquainted with grief;" for as Heaven 
is the abode. of happiness because of holiness; so 
this earth must be the abode of sorrow because of 
sin; the servant of Christ must live in a world of 
his own, apart from that which is without, in the 
thoughts of his heart ; if the world hates him because 
he is not of the world, but is bom of God, so likewise 
must he hate the world ; and this implies desolation 
of heart and mourning ; and the more this mourning 
is, the more will his consolation abound. Thus 
not mourning only, but joy and peace are his por- 
tion. For the Christian's life is in itself as a great 
contradiction; his religion is made up of contra- 


dictions, because Holy Scripture is full of the same ; 
and bis course, as it advances onward, harmonizes 
them all, and out of such discords forms the ever- 
lasting concord of heaven. If joy is the mark of 
sonsbip, yet this his very acceptableness depends on 
his sorrow. It is those that lament the sins that 
are around them on whom is set the seal of God'. 
" They that fear the Lord," and " speak often to one 
another" in sympathies of sacred sorrow are the 
jewels valued of God ". In some days there is scarce 
any stronger token of holiness ; as in the good 
Josiah, because he wept and his heart was tender; 
and in this prophet when he says, "if ye will not 
hear it, my soul shall weep in secret '." 

In this respect then is Jeremiah the Christian's 
study, as therein he studies his Master's own life, 
and the mind which was in Christ. To look on 
the prophets only as, foretelling things to come, is 
but a partial and limited mode of taking them; 
nor are they only as "preachers of righteousness," 
but likewise real living characters in which Christ 
Himself is speaking by His Spirit. Where Christ is, 
there must His servants behold Him. They live on 
earth that they may learn to love, and they learn 
to love that they may live, — ^that true life which is 
with Christ in God. 

» Ezek. ix. 4. « Mai. iii. 17. 

" Jer, xiii. 17. 



EzBK. xxxiil 32. 

^ And, lo, thou art onto them as a very lovely song of one that 
hath a pleasant voice, and can play well <»n an instrument: for 
they hear thy words, hut they do them not." 

These words are spoken of the Prophet Ezekiel; 
he is as the lovely song, as the pleasant voice, as 
the instrument of music, all this even to the worldly 
mind; yet we might have thought otherwise; so 
full is he of woe, of the wrath of God; and how 
dark and obscure are his visions! Should we not 
say of him rather as of his Divine Master, who 
"speaks by the prophets,'* he is "without form or 
comeliness," "there is no beauty that we should 
desire him." Tet so it is, very beautiful is the 
lightning though it be a messenger of wrath, and 
the breaking forth of the burning mountain. Thus 
they made much of this prophet, as if there were 
something attractive about him ; they come to him, 
they assemble at his house, they ask for his revela- 
tions, and sit before him \ Let us consider what 

^ Ezek. xiv. 3; xx. 1 ; zxxiii. 31. 


there is in his history and in his prophecies that will 
account for this. 

The great prophets came for the most part in 
succession ; when one departed another arose, as 
watchmen in the dark days; they passed on the 
lamp one to another; for Otod left not His Church 
without witness: but now when His people were 
divided, some being still left in Jerusalem before 
its destruction, while others were carried captive 
to Babylon, the light becomes twofold; Jeremiah 
and Ezekiel both prophesy together; but the one 
in Jerusalem, the other at the same time by the river 
Chebar in the captivity of Babylon ; for Ezekiel had 
been taken there among the captives eleven years be- 
fore Jerusalem was destroyed. It is said ' that his pro- 
phecies were also carried from thence at the same time 
to Jerusalem ; and those of Jeremiah were brought 
to Babylon; thus these two great prophets united 
as it were their lights together ; though vast distances 
intervened, they mingled their tears. 

How great a change must have come over the 
mind of an Israelite who had been carried away 
to Babylon ; the great city of wonders ; the seat 
of Oriental magnificence, — of the wisdom of the an- 
cients ; where the Chaldeans watched the stars in 
the broad expanse of Eastern plains ; the country 
whence Egypt itself derived its language of mystery, 
making " living creatures '* to represent the spiritual 
and Divine. Like St. Paul at Bome, he is a cap- 
tive; but "the Spirit of God is not bound;" nay, 
is more free in chains. And now to speak to cap- 
tive Israel, he takes up his parable from Babylon; 

' B/ St. Jerome. 


and, applies the new imagery and scenes of the East. 
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is henceforth 
known by a new name, as "the Lord of Hosts," 
the God of those armies of Heaven whom the Ba- 
bylonians ignorantly worshipped. With new lan- 
guage does the Spirit clothe itself, and one meet 
for that language is chosen; the earthen vessel is 
moulded by the Divine hand for this use. As the 
Gospel comes to us in the garb of Greek and Itoman 
simplicity; these prophets speak with the wonderful 
visions and symbols of the East ; each with its appro- 
priate adaptation of God. 

Nay, not only the images by which God speaks, 
but scenes and events themselves are changed; the 
Children walking in the fire ; the Saint in the lion's 
den; the Hand of fire writing on the wall; these 
are things of a new character ; they are of Babylon, 
not of Jerusalem ; or rather they are of Jerusalem 
in Babylon. The coming of Christ is foretold in a 
new manner; in Daniel, one like the Son of God 
is seen with his faithful ones walking in the midst 
of the fiames. In the Prophet Ezekiel the Incar- 
nation is set forth in a vision of four living crea- 
tures where the throne of God is ; the living fire 
is there; the fsice of a Man; the Lion to speak 
His kingdom and strength ; the Ox the sacrifice 
of His death ; the Eagle His Eesurrection and God- 
head. Now these considerations will account for 
the peculiar character of Ezekiel ; and why in the 
prophet of the captivity more than in any other 
it was fulfilled, "I will incline mine ear to the 
parable : and show my dark speech upon the harp ^." 

. » Pfl. xlix, 4^ 


When they sat down by the waters of Babylon, and 
remembered Zion and wept, in shadowy and sublime 
outline they saw in its dark waters the reflection 
of the spiritual Zion, and through the visions of 
Assyrian allegory spake to them the mysterious wis- 
dom of God. 

But before entering further into the subject, let 
us consider what it is in Christ Himself which is 
peculiarly to be found in Ezekiel? for as our Lord 
spake by the prophets, so in the prophets seve- 
rally seems set forth something in His own ministry. 
Now, in addition to many expressions which remind 
us of our Lord's own words, I think we may hear 
His voice in those heavy denunciations which Ezekiel 
declares against the Jews. Li the Gospels are the 
terrible Woes pronounced against the Pharisees after 
their day of visitation was past, and their "house 
left unto them desolate;" so in Ezekiel, when the 
sentence of condemnation was already gone forth, 
we hear the awful Voice by the prophet, " thou shalt 
speak unto them whether they will hear or whether 
they will forbear," "for they are most rebellious:" 
such is his commission; his "£ace is made strong" 
as adamant against their &ces ; " thorns and briers " 
are with him, as with Christ, when He wore His 
crown of thorns; and he also "has his dwelling 
among scorpions*," that same "generation of vipers," 
of whom our Lord Himself speaks. 

It might then at first sight appear inconsistent 
with this, that the Prophet Ezekiel should in style 
be considered so engaging, that even to those to 
whom he was sent with heavy tidings he should be 

U 2 


as one that bad a '' pleasant voice ;" in like manner, 
tbat although the roll which is given him is ^' written 
within and without/' '' with lamentations and mourn- 
ing and woe," yet it should be in the mouth of the 
prophet, that is^ to the natural man, '' as honej for 

Yet this is in accordance with much we find 
in Scripture; for instance, what could be more 
sternly severe and full of reproof than St. Stephen's 
speech at his death ? But on that occasion, '' looking 
stedfastly on him, they saw his face as it had been 
the fece of an angel." Thus God arrested their 
minds till His martyr should speak to them all hia 
burden of sad admonition. In like manner there 
is something of deep interest and beauty in the 
visions, the similitudes, and the images which Ezekiel 
uses, and unwilling minds are held by them till 
they have heard all his warnings; not only thus, 
but they continue with them unforgotten, and such 
as will not be put by. Thus our Lord's own warnings 
of the terrible day of Judgment have mostly come 
to us under the dress of most striking parables and 
figures. Who does not listen with interest to the 
parable of the Ten Virgins; of the Householder 
taking account with His servants; of the Kjng 
coming in at the Marriage Supper; of the net 
which the angels are emptying and sorting on 
the shore ; of the Shepherd dividing His sheep from 
the goats ? These will be always remembered by 
those who would be most willing to forget the Day 
of Judgment itself. In like manner the solemn 
prophecies of St. John in the Bevelation^ &om the 

» Ch. ii. \Q \ iiu 3. 


tjpes and symbols in which they are expressed, 
engage the attention of the natural mind, and so 
carry on and hold up to every age the witness of 

Por these reasons then we need not wonder if 
the prophet most commissioned to declare messages 
of judgment, should be found in language most 
figurative, most picture-like of inspired writers ; that 
the watchman and the witness for the captives should 
be apparelled, not in the sublimity of the Prophet 
Isaiah, nor the tenderness of Jeremiah, but in the 
oriental imagery of Ezekiel. 

Again, such types and figures have a life such as no 
mere words of themselves can have, they clothe them- 
selves with form and spirit, and continue. Thus the 
images of Ezekiel not only speak of themselves in the 
place where they are found ; but they come up again 
and are of frequent occurrence in the Apocalypse, as 
if still waiting for their fulfilment. Thus indeed, much 
that is in Ezekiel is also in St. John ; things which 
already have been in some sense ^Ifilled ; but even 
now are fulfilling themselves, and yet to be more 
largely and worthily fulfilled. The vision of the four 
living creatures for instance, in Ezekiel, is found again 
in St. John ; it is still before us ; still new ; we know 
much of what it means, but we have much more yet 
to learn. The glory of the Lord coming from the 
East ; His voice like the noise of many waters ; the 
earth shining with His glory' ;" these and many such 
things in Ezekiel are reproduced in St. John. In 
both, the angels of judgment are represented as wait- 
ing till the children of God are sealed with His 

^ Ezek. xliil Bev. vii. 2. 


" mark upon their forehead." Gog and Magog with 
their armies are both alike in Ezekiel and in St. John, 
as about to come forth in the times of the end. The 
assembling of the fowls to the great sacrifice is in 
both. And especially that subject of many chapters 
in Ezekiel, the measuring of the Temple and the 
vision of the Holy City, is marked in both as yet to 
be. As Joseph said to Pharaoh, the vision is re- 
peated, because it is established of Gk)d, and soon to 
be fulfilled by Him'. Thus things in Ezekiel over 
which the tide of ages seems to have rolled, come 
up in St. John ; all as showing that it shall be per- 
fected in measure, in number and weight ; that, not- 
withstanding the confusion that prevails, there is a 
secret order incomparable in beauty, and every gem 
hath its place assigned of God. The memorable 
vision too of the dry bones has been more than once 
fulfilled in some sense, but still awaits its last com- 

Now I have said that one efiect of types and simili- 
tudes such as these is, that they may not die away 
and be forgotten ; thus if we look to those subjects of 
Holy Writ which arrest at this day most attention in 
the world, we shall find it is such figurative pro- 
phecies; every age, nay, every scene of popular in- 
terest has its interpreters and their readers, who 
apply such things to passing events; in a manner 
indeed very inadequate, and perhaps unprofitable and 
vain; yet, however mistaken, they serve to keep 
alive the knowledge of them; God will not have 
them hidden and lost; every time that a con- 
spicuous enemy, real or supposed, springs up, there 

' Gen. xll 32. 


are interpreters that cry out, and many that heap 
them saying, this is the Antichrist that is to be. 
So that in this way, people are made to know and 
remember that the great enemy of God has been fore- 
told, is to be always expected, and at any time may 
be at the door. 

Such are some reasons for the symbolic language of 
Ezekiel; it is a language suited for all times and 
countries, that never grows out of date, or loses its 
power. Add to which it may be naturally accounted 
for by the character and circumstances of the pro- 
phet, and the heavy tidings he had to bear. Strong 
feeling does always naturally express itself in figures 
and similitudes; it gives vent to itself in burning 
words that take form and are full of life. Thus the 
Psalmist first says, " My heart shall muse of under- 
standing," and it is to this he adds of opening his ear 
to the parable, and showing his dark speech upon 
the harp. Now Ezekiel was in delivering his pro- 
phecies thus eaten up as it were by a burning fire 
within. " I went," he says ', " in bitterness, in the 
heat of my spirit; but the hand of the Lord was 
strong upon me.'* For seven days he sat among his 
people as one astonished ere he opened his mouth. 
Moreover, he himself was made to drink deeply of the 
cup of affliction in his prophecies : he was made to 
them a sign and a terror from the heaviness of his 
burden, to add weight to his words, " Thou shalt bear 
thy burden in the twilight, thou shalt cover thy face 
that thou see not the ground, for I have set thee for 
a sign to the house of Israel." His wife, the desire of 
his eyes, was taken from him at a stroke, and he was 

» Ch. iu. 14, 


forbidden to mourn'; lie had to eat of bread foully 
polluted that he might so speak the more powerfullj * : 
he had to lay on his side in fasting and bonds for 
many days, to bear the iniquity of the house of Israel 
and of Judah. " Sigh therefore," it is said to him, " thou 
son of man, with the breaking of thy loins ; and with 
bitterness sigh before their eyes," in order that they 
may ask, "Wherefore sighest thou'?" Thus it is 
that in reading the G-ospels, we, my brethren, are 
made to ask, why our blessed Saviour sighs. As St. 
Paul, lest he should be puffed up by the abundance of 
the revelations that were made to him, had an angel 
of Satan sent to buffet him, and had laid on him a 
multitude of sorrows : so had Ezekiel the like mark of 
Christ ; that his words might have weight as one that 
bore about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus. 
Ezekiel is peculiarly addressed as " the Son of Man," 
and it is observed by an ancient writer, St. Gregory *, 
that it is whenever he is called to the vision of things 
heavenly he is thus designated by that name in 
which our Lord Himself ever delighted, when He went 
about in the power of His Grodhead. Thus as a plant 
which when crushed gives forth its sweetness, as from 
the grape trodden under foot is the Wine of Grod ; and 
from the com thrashed and ground is the Bread of 
Life; so was Ezekiel stricken of God that he might 
speak the more powerfully in the likeness of Christ. 
And O the blessedness of that suffering, the ines- 
timable value of that affliction which gives us power to 
speak the words of God ! And well did he need visions 
and words of power, for nothing else would reach the 

• Ch. xxiv. 16. » Ch. iv. 15. 

» Ch. xxi. 6, 7. » In Ezek. ch. xi. 


hearts of those to whom he was sent. As our Lord 
Himself so often repeated the words, "he that hath 
ears to hear, let him hear ;" so God says by Ezekiel, 
" He that heareth, let him hear ; and he that for- 
beareth, let him forbear *." " Whether they will hear, 
or whether they will forbear; thou shalt speak My 
words*.'* "Son of Man, thou dwellest in the midst 
of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see and see 
not ; they have ears to hear and hear not '." 

Eor these reasons the prophecies of Ezekiel, like 
our Lord's own miracles and parables, present things 
more to the eye than to the ear ; for thus they more 
powerfully reach the mind. Hence the whole style 
and character of Ezekiel; where another prophet 
persuades, Ezekiel sees a sign or symbol and 
leaves that to speak. This might be shown in in- 
stances out of number. Thus Isaiah says, "the 
law shall go forth from Mount Sion, and the word of 
the Lord from Jerusalem^;" but Ezekiel instead of 
this sees the vision of waters going forth from the 
threshold of the Temple to the four quarters of the 
world. He sees, and describes at great length as he 
sees, the Shepherd and the sheep, the dark mountains, 
" the cloudy and dark day," and quiet waters *. He 
sees the burning forest, while they cry out in mockery, 
" Ah, Lord God, doth he not speak parables **?" But 
the end of God is answered by their attention being 
thus arrested by his visions, for it is added, "then 
shall they know that there hath been a prophet among 

* Ch. iii. 27. » Ch. ii. 7. 

« Ch. xii. 2. ' Isa. ii. 3. 

» Ch. xxxiv. 12. » Ch. xx. 49. 
> Ch. xxxiii. 33; ii. 6. 


He is raised in visions by the Spirit far above ; he 
is among angels and the secret providences of Qoi 
before they go forth on earth ; he sees and hears as it 
were unspeakable words which it is not for man to 
utter; and therefore he is called the " Son of Man:" 
he walks near to the ground and mourns ; with a fire 
within that drinks up his spirit. He sees deeply into 
the spiritual nature of God's judgments ; and that 
although in things temporal children are punished for 
their fathers; yet in very deed before God none 
bears but his own burden, as he explains throughout 
the 18th chapter; and that amidst temporal judg- 
ments which are dark and inscrutable all things work 
together for good to those that love God. He is 
set as a watchman to watch for the morning, and de- 
scries its light from afar, while fires as of Mount Sinai 
blend with the milder radiance of Pentecost. He is 
the Prophet of Christ's second coming no less than of 
His first. As in the Day of Judgment amidst sights 
and signs the most sublitne and terrible, will be 
manifested wonderful depths of God's wisdom, the 
reach of His Providences, and the scales of eternal 
justice; so throughout this Prophet amidst visions 
and imagery, great, striking, and awful, there occur 
full and clear enunciations of God's mercy and 
truth, the rising of His temple, the sublime and won- 
derful but most beautiful order of His ways on earth, 
bearing onward the throne of the Incarnate Son of 
God. Such is the style and the course of this the 
great seer of Eastern captivity, while amidst all this 
we hear from him as his one great message the first 
words of our Prayer Book, "When the wicked man 
tumeth away from his wickedness, he shall save his 


Thus then it is that the prophet Ezekiel being so 
intimately connected with our Lord's own teaching 
in the Gospels, and being bound up more than any 
other prophet in the Eevelation of St. John, comes 
especially home to us Christians, the Israel of God in 
the Babjlon of the world ; to them that are for awhile 
in the furnace of affliction that they may come forth 
purified ; hewn out and broken and fitted by His hand 
that they may be living stones for His temple that is 
to be; a remnant ever found in the ruins of the 
visible Church. "Although I have scattered them 
among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little 
sanctuary, saith the Lord God *." 

One of the Christian fathers, St. Jerome, says that 
be was used when young to go on the Lord's day into 
the caves at Some where the Apostles and Martyrs 
were buried ; and there in silence and darkness amid 
the chambers of the dead to meditate on the visions of 
Ezekiel ; and that thus he learned to approach them 
with awe and reverence, not with idle curiosity, and 
80 in some measure to understand them; seeing 
light, he says, as in the dubious obscure, and exclaim- 
ing, "I have found Him whom my soul loveth, 
I will hold Him fast and will not let Him go'." 
Thus, "in the cloudy and dark day," in the times of 
affliction, we may understand him better than now we 
do. There is no doubt that the prophet Ezekiel and 
the Eevelation of St. John are especially intended for 
the edification and comfort of Christians in the last 
days, those of " the great tribulation." And here I 
would observe that those who are singled out by the 
seal of God in their forehead to be safe under those 

s Ch. xi 16. ' St. Jer. in Ezek. Lib. XII. cap. xL 


800 EZEOEL. 

His judgments, are not described as those who have 
done any "great thing, but such as " sigh and cry for 
all the abominations that are done in the midst of the 
sanctuary *." 

One word more of caution ; a holy Bishop who has 
written largely on Ezekiel, the great St. Gregory, has 
applied it to the examination and correction of our 
own heart, and building up the soul in righteousness. 
Thus we know that the temple of God of which so 
much is said in Ezekiel is in one sense our own souL 
Happy he who mourns for all pollutions and abomi- 
nations that have been there, who puts out from 
thence all idols, and makes it fit for the indwelling of 
God. Blessed is he who keeps his heart tender and 
low to understand His prophets, whether the plain- 
tive voice amidst the ruins of Israel, or the dark harp 
by the waters of Babylon. Let it not be said of us as 
it was of the Jews, " We have mourned unto you " 
with the voice of Jeremiah, but ye lamented not*; 
"we have piped unto you" with the prophecies of 
Ezekiel, but ye listened as to a lovely song or instru- 
ment of music, ye heard and did not. 

* Ch. ix. 4. » St. Matt xi. 17. 



Dan. X. 11. 
" And He said unto me, Daniel, a man greatly beloved.'* 

SxJOH is the testimony which God Himself bears to 
the Prophet Daniel, and for this reason we naturally 
associate him in our minds with the Evangelist St. 
John; the one as the "man greatly beloved;" the 
other as "the disciple whom Jesus loved." And 
what is remarkable, both alike are spoken of in the 
Church as much for wisdom as for love. Thus it is 
that to love God is to know Him, and Divine wisdom 
is ever united with Divine love, as light and heat in 
the same flame. They that know God must love 
Him, for He Himself is love, and to them who seek to 
love Him He imparts this knowledge of Himself. 
And therefore St. John in his writings speaks of light 
as much as of love: and it is said to Daniel that, 
because he is a man of love it is given him to under- 
In both too there was the love of man as cona^U 

302 DANIEL. 

CU0U8 as the love of God ; thus St. John ever dwella 
on our loving one another ; and Daniel seems to ha?e 
drawn on himself the love of others bjr his love for 
them. The first mention of him is that " God had 
brought him into tender love with the prince of the 
eunuchs." The heart of the great king Nebuchad- 
nezzar bows before him in worship ; and still more 
knit to him in love is the heart of the king Darius. 
He was beloved of them because he loved them. What 
tender concern does he express for the astrologers: 
but how much above all for his own people ! His 
exertions with kings are for their sake ; His interces- 
sions with God are for their pardon. 

And it may be observed that three times as he is 
designated the " greatly beloved,** we find in the 
margin of our Bibles another reading, " a man of de- 
sires ;" this may be " a man of love," full of love, all 
love ; love for others which ever brings love in return, 
as face answers to face in the clear water : or a man 
of desires for that which is alone worthy of all desire, 
all desire towards God, full of earnest, insatiable de- 
sire for God ; his eyes ever turned to Him, his heart 
ever pondering, longing, listening for, loving God. 
On every occasion of need or difficulty did he at once 
turn to God that he might know what to answer. 
God was evidently his only rest and confidence ; his 
home, his country, and more than all that he had lost. 
Three times a day in solemn prayer which nothing 
could divert did he hold communion with God. Thus 
also was the beloved disciple afterwards " a man of 
desires," full of earnest zeal, so that he was called of 
his Lord, " the son of thunder." It was through this 
love or desire that lying on his Lord's bosom ha 
drank of wisdom. 

DANIEL. 303 

Oh, what a wonderful expression is this, the man of 
desires, — this is the highest state of the human soul, 
to be made up of desire. A soul full of desire is full 
of prayer. My soul hath a desire, says David, panteth, 
fainteth, is athirst for God. Of wisdom it is said, 
"they that drink her shall yet be thirsty ^" And 
surely never did a soul of desire so break forth as in 
those words of the beloved and loving Disciple, " Even 
so come. Lord Jesus ! '* 

It was these, the desires after Q-od, the love of God, 
that made Daniel so earnest in seeking Him by hu- 
miliation, and fasting, and prayer. It was in thus 
seeking that he was answered ; in this stedfast, un- 
swerving purpose he continued until he was heard *. 
Eor like reasons in some respects may the character 
of Daniel be illustrated by a comparison with that of 
Joseph : in many points they resemble each other : so 
full was the character of Joseph also of singular love 
and sweetness ; to him God revealed His secrets, as 
friend does to friend, drew near unto him in visions of 
the night, and whispered to his secret spirit the interpre- 
tations of dreams. He also was brought into love and 
honour with his successive masters ; with the captain 
of the guard; with the master of the prison; and 
with the king of Egypt ; made by him " the head of 
the heathen," and "teaching his senators wisdom'." 
But more than all was his love for his own brethren ; 
and he, like Daniel, wept over them in love, and 
pleaded for them. Again, both were captives and 
early taught in the school of affliction : the iron was 
on their limbs and " entered into their soul," both 

1 Ecclus. xxiv. 21. ' Dan. ix. 3; x. 2, 3. 

» Ps. cv. 22. 18. 

304 DAiriEL. 

known for purity, both for love, and for wisdom of 
God ; and both were for that reason the best coun- 
sellors and best rulers among men, as deiiying their 
wisdom from above. They became wise in hmmm 
thiDgs, by looking away from man unto Qod, And 
that which they obtained from above they ever pre- 
served by looking upward : they knew that the pearl of 
great price was not to be preserved but in a pure 
heart. If on the walls of the imiverse they saw and 
read the fiery Hand which the astrologers and sooth- 
sayers could not, it was because in them dwelt the 
Spirit of Him that wrote. 

And this we may see the more strongly, this inti- 
mate union of purity of heart with wisdom and Divine 
love, by the example of Solomon. Of him also it was 
said while yet young that "the Lord loved him*." 
He also obtained wisdom beyond all men because he 
sought for it of God. " If any man lack wisdom let 
him ask of God." But how may " the gold become 
dim, and the most fine gold changed!" How was 
that wisdom clouded, and how did it come to nought! 
For in him Divine love was lost in earthly, sensual 
love ; whereas Joseph, and Daniel, and St. John were 
pre-eminently known for purity. In them was ful- 
filled that the pure in heart shall see God. They 
were pure in heart ; they had visions of God. They 
saw Him in all His ways, and works, and words ; if 
their knowledge was not like that of Solomon, of the 
hyssop on the wall and the cedar of Lebanon ; yet it 
was in the spiritual and moral providences, in that 
which is peculiarly the wisdom of God ; so that Pha- 
raoh said of Joseph, '' Can we find such a one as this 

* 2 Sam. ziL 24. 

3)Ain£L. 805 

18, a man in whom the Spirit of God is *.*' And Daniel 
is ever described by the princes of Babylon as "a 
man in whom is the spirit of the holy gods," having 
''understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the 

But in another point likewise did Joseph and Daniel 
differ from Solomon, that he had not on him as they 
had that mark of Christ, which is early affliction. By 
self-chastening thus learned and ingrained deep, their 
"first love" was preserved fresh and pure to the 
last. Indeed, even David, the man after God's own 
heart, and the great Apostle, St. Peter, both fell, 
though great was their repentance. But of Daniel 
and St. John it is not recorded that they ever fell 
away. For in this also is it true that divine "love 
never faileth." It is very remarkable that it was while 
Daniel was yet alive, yea, even while young, for he 
had scarcely arrived at middle age, being, as is 
supposed, but thirty-four years old when, in the pro- 
phet Ezekiel, he is united thus with Noah and Job ; 
"Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job 
were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by 
their righteousness, saith the Lord God'." And not 
only for his holiness, but for his wisdom also was he 
so famous, that the same prophet says to the Prince of 
Tyre, who boasted of his knowledge, " Art thou wiser 

So holy and so wise was he declared to be before 
death had set the seal on his life. Yet, as St. Augus- 
tine observes, though so approved of for holiness and 
for wisdom, yet he makes the most earnest confession 

» Gen. xU. 38. • Ezek. xiv. 14. 

^ Ezek. xxyiii. 3. 

306 DANIEL. 

of sin. And indeed very great were his humiliations. 
He is not a prophet only, but an intercessor with 
Grod. It is to be observed that he is not sent to 
rebuke and reprove his people, as the other prophets 
had been, but to make himself one with them, to pray 
for them, and humble himself, as the Priest offered 
sacrifice for his own sins, and then for those of the 
people ; " confessing my sin," he says, " and the sin 
of my people *." The captivity had done its work; 
actual idolatry was at end, the voice of reproof was no 
more raised aloud, but the voice of humiliation and 
confession was heard as out of the ground ; it was 
Daniel pleading for mercy, fasting and praying, 
confessing his own sins, and those of his people 
as if they were his own. And unto this day the 
Church has no more solemn form of confession than 
that of the prophet Daniel. Thus Jeremiah and 
Ezekiel had been sent " to root out, to pull down 
and destroy," but Daniel to carry out their work, 
"to build and to plant'." For in him repentance 
had its perfect work, and from the desolations of 
Israel he looked forward and prepared for their 

He was the last of the four great prophets, which 
four, like the four Evangelists, stand as it were as a 
whole together, bearing the full witness of Q-od ; but 
Daniel the last, like St. John the last of the Evan- 
gelists, stands also like St. John in a different position 
from the former three. He comes forth the comple- 
tion and perfection of them in his own person ; not as 
a prophet ooly, but also as one With those to whom 
the prophets were sent. Thus we may observe that the 

« Dan. ix. 20. » Jer. i. 10. 



part which he bears among the four great prophets is 
peculiarly his own. For instance, the prophet Isaiah 
speaks by name long before of Cyrus the restorer and 
rebuilder of the Temple * ; Jeremiah ^ foretels the 
seventy years of the captivity ; Ezekiel sees in vision 
the rebuilding of the Temple : but Daniel carries on 
all these, and himself takes part in the fulfilment of 
them. It is he that appends to Cyrus himself: it 
is he that numbers the seventy years of Jeremiah, and 
brings about the accomplishment of them: it is he 
that gives as it were body and form to the visions of 
Ezekiel; and stops not at the temporal fulfilment; 
but goes on to Christ's eternal kingdom, and calculates 
the years of His coming. 

Thus, like St. John among the Evangelists, he may 
have the eagle for his symbol among the prophets; 
"They that wait upon the Lord'* shall be as the 
eagle that renews its youth*, that can rise aloft 
and gaze upon the sun. The lion, the calf, and the 
man have their walk on earth ; but the eagle " mounts 
up with wings " towards Heaven, and is there as one 
of all space. " Her eyes behold afar off," and " her 
nest is on high ;" in the strong place is her abode and 
her dwelling in the rock *. And that Eock is Christ. 

And if he is thus as the prophet of God, he then 
passes, as it were, from the prophet into the saint 
and martyr ; and herein it is given him to resemble, 
not in character only, but in his history also, the 
disciple of Divine love ; both were martyrs in will, but 
not in deed ; both miraculously delivered from death ; 
both as captives taken into the secret counsels of 

* laa. xliv. 28. « Isa. xl. 3; Ps. ciii. 6. 

< Job xxxix. 28, 29. 


308 DAiniEL. 

God, and raised on high to behold His kingdom from 
afar : both had to wait for it to extreme old age, behold- 
ing, like Moses, a further rest for which they longed, 
but into which they entered not; both were as 
men not living in one generation only, but belonging 
to all time; because in visions of God they were 
present in all succeeding ages to the last. No one, 
for instance, has so forcibly described these very 
days in which we liv.e as the Prophet Daniel. 
" Many," he says, " shall run to and fro, and know- 
ledge shall be increased." "But the wicked shall 
do wickedly ^" All which is carried out into fur- 
ther description by St. John. Both saw in vision 
the throne of judgment ; the dead, small and great, 
standing before God; the judgment set, and the 
books opened ' ; to both it was given to behold " one 
like the similitude of the sons of men," who was 
clothed in linen, and girded with fine gold; whose 
face was as the appearance of lightning, and His 
eyes as lamps of fire; His feet as brass burning 
in the furnace ; His voice as of many waters, as the 
voice of a multitude ; at whose sight their comeliness 
was turned into corruption, and they fell with their 
faces to the ground, till touched and lifted up by Him 
who is the Eesurrection and the Life '. 

Thus was it fulfilled by anticipation, in Daniel, 
what St. Paul says of the Christian Church : " Te 
are come unto Mount Sion, the heavenly Jerusalem, 
the company of angels, and to Jesus, the Mediator 
of the new covenant \ Of him more especially might 
it be said, that he was as a stranger and a pilgrim 

' Dan. xii. 4. 10. » Dan. vii. 10 ; Rev. xx. 12. 

• Compare Dan. x. ; Rev. L * Heb. xii. 22. 24. 

upon earth, looking for a better country, for a city 
which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is 
God. Further, we may observe, that although he did 
so much for the restoration of Jerusalem and the 
rebuilding of the temple, yet he himself did not 
return, but continued an exile and a captive unto 
the last. And indeed of him and his companions 
God seems to speak in consolation long before by 
the Prophet Isaiah, when in describing them he says, 
'^ Unto them will I give in Mine house and within 
My walls a place and a name better than of sons and 
of daughters, I will give them an everlasting name '," 
which we may well carry on in Daniel's own words, 
for " they that be wise shall shine as the brightness 
of the firmament ; and they that turn many to righte- 
ousness as the stars for ever and ever'." 

Again, if the sins of forefathers are visited on 
their children, yet how wonderfully under these visi- 
tations do all things work for good for those that 
love God. Thus we read not long since of the judg- 
ment on King Hezekiah, that his treasures should 
be carried to Babylon, and his sons should be cap- 
tives in the palace of 'the king of Babjlon. And if, 
as is supposed, Daniel was of the seed Eoyal, and 
the descendant of Hezekiah, then was there in this 
the signal mercy of God, and the remembrance of 
that good king, even in judgment. For Daniel was 
indeed a captive, but as a captive greater than kings ; 
for Nebuchadnezzar himself fell down and worshipped 
him* ; Belshazzar trembled before him; Darius loved, 
and Cyrus obeyed and honoured him. The treasures 

» Isa. Ivi. 5. » Dan. xii 3. 

« Dan. iL 46. 

810 DAinzL. 

of Jerusalem were there, but he was, as it were, 
the keeper and defender of them till they should 
be restored; and when Belshazzar was about to 
pollute them, Daniel came fdrth and read the writing, 
that his kingdom was gone from him, and the restorer 
of Jerusalem was at the gate. 

Indeed, where Daniel was, there was the Church 
of Q-od, the "little sanctuary," He had promised 
the captives by Ezekiel*. As was Melchizedeck 
among the Canaanites, as Joseph in Egypt, so was 
Dani^ among the Chaldeans : the light of the Hea- 
then, the star appearing in the East, the keeper of 
Jerusalem in Babylon. If to Joseph was given to 
interpret dreams, to Daniel far more ; to know both 
the dream untold and the interpretation thereof; 
if Solomon was given " wisdom exceeding much, 
and," as it is described, "largeness of heart, even 
^La the sand that is on the sea-shore '," in the wisdom 
given unto Daniel was there largeness of heart, even 
like as the stars of heaven. Eor it was a wisdom 
of things heavenly, kindled by the illumination of 
Divine love. 

Such was the Prophet Daniel, the man greatly 
beloved, beloved both of Q-od and man; beloved 
by them because greatly loving both God and man ; 
a man of love, a heart of love, so full of Divine love, 
that no human things could move him ; trained from 
a child in deep affliction, carried as an exile in the 
destruction of his home, his country, and his kin- 
dred ; the family of David laid prostrate in the dust, 
with his religion a wreck. But wait a little while, 
and we behold him raised to a wonderfrd height, 

5 Ezek. xi. \6. • 1 Kings iv. 29. 

DANIEL. 311 

beloved of princes, a ruler of kiDgdoms, the coun- 
sellor of counsellors; honoured by the five great 
emperors of the world in succession, the Babylonian, 
the Persian, the Mede-; called by Nebuchadnezzar 
with the highest appellation he could bestow, even 
from the name of his own god Belteshazzar, and 
like that of his own princely son Belshazzar. Yet 
in all these things was Daniel altogether unmoved, 
on account of the Divine flame, which outward 
changes reached not, except to make it burn the more 
brightly and strongly. 

And now what was the one great secret of Daniel ? 
it was desire, a soul full of desire; it was to keep 
his desire alive, nay, to increase and intensify this 
desire that his whole life was spent. Other things 
followed, as his love for man, the love and honour 
of all ; but these were not what he sought, but the 
love of God. In that he found all. He studied 
not human things in order to understand them, but 
he looked to God, the fountain of wisdom. " With 
Thee is the well of life, and in Thy light shall we 
see light ^" As he himself says, " He revealeth the 
deep and secret things : he knoweth what is in the 
darkness, and the light dwelleth with Him®." The 
astrologers looked to the stars to know earthly things, 
but Daniel to the God who made them; the coun- 
sellors looked to human laws and customs, but he 
to God, whose providence ruleth all things, " in the 
army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of earth/ 
As it is said of Angels that they learn of earthly 
things by looking away from earth into the mirror 
of the Divine mind, thus was it with Daniel. 

7 Ps. xxxvi. 9. * Dan. ii. 22. 

312 DAKIEL. 

What he wished to understand he set Himself, he 
says, by prayer and fasting to know ; when he would 
come to the knowledge of that which he knew not, he 
sought it in Q-od by humiliation: "I Daniel," he 
says, '*in those days was mourning; I ate no plea- 
sant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, 
till three whole weeks were fulfilled ; then I lifted up 
mine eyes and looked '." 

Hence it was that the more he was exalted, the 
more did he abase himself; and the higher he was in 
the favour of Q-od, the more did he lament his 
unworthiness of that goodness. He knew that Jeru- 
salem should be restored, and understood from the 
books that the time was come; but on that account 
he prayed the more earnestly, having faith in God, 
that it should be. The more confirmed he was in 
acceptance, the more did he fear G-od; the more 
beloved he was of kings, the more fearlessly did he 
rebuke them : counselling Nebuchadnezzar to " break 
off his sins by righteousness, and his iniquities by 
showing mercy to the poor':" and to his successor, 
Belshazzar, disclosing all the truth. Fearing God, and 
honouring kings, with fidelity and power but with love 
and loyalty unshaken did he reprove them. 

It is worthy of consideration, that all the inspired 
writers, prophets, evangelists, and apostles, indeed 
all the saints of both the Old and New Testaments, 
lived under monarchies and kings; none in what 
is called a free state, or popular government; thus 
by obedience to man did they learn reverence towards 
God, and that meekness of spirit which is in His 
sight of so great price ; by looking up to His repre- 

» Dan. X. 3. 6. » Dan. iv. 27. 

DANIEL. 813 

sentatives on earth tbey were trained to a disposition 
of loyal love to the King of kings. 

All the life and labour of Daniel was to keep alive 
this heart of desires ; for this he fed on pulse, that 
he might not defile his soul, that his wings might 
be light to rise heavenward; for this he asked of 
his three companions, that with him they would 
"desire mercies of the God of Heaven;" for this 
"he kneeled on his knees three times a day, and 
gave thanks ;" for this his sleep was filled with the 
communings of God as the stars come to view in 
the night season ; for this he " set his face unto 
the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplication, 
with fasting and sackcloth and ashes," in confession 
of sin; for this he longed for the time as for the 
morning watch, and calculated the years till Christ's 
coming, with earnest desire adding to desire, looking 
and longing for that coming, and hearing in answer 
these words, " Blessed is he that waiteth*." 

Such was Daniel, the man of desires; the flame 
of his soul ever burned upward, and all human 
events did but stir and fan that flame: he lived 
among wars and rumours of wars; and not only 
this, but it was given him to see in visions far more 
than such in his own times, wars and devastations 
of armies, aggressions and unjust causes flourishing, 
and might prevailiug ; and the time of trouble such 
as there never was since there was a nation; but 
none of these things moved him, because he saw them 
all so fast departing like shadows, and coming to 
nought, and the Stone cut without hands becoming 
a great mountain, and breaking to pieces all the king- 

' Dan. xii. 12. 


doms of the earth ; that is, he saw all working together 
for good, and to the full establishment of the kingdom 
of Christ, " the Son of Man brought the Ancient 
of Days," and sitting on His judgment throne. 
Therefore it was that earthly events, however griev- 
ous, troublous, and perplexing, did not shake his 
confidence in GJ-od, because he was a man of desires. 
These his desires earnestly took hold of God, and 
of nothing else ; these his desires clothed him within 
and without as it were with a robe of Divine fire; 
even as the Cherubin, all wisdom ; and as the Seraphin, 
all love. Thus he was not once only saved from 
death, but all his life was a miracle ; to live unharmed 
with those Heathen kings was to be all his life in 
the lion's den ; to live amidst those idolatrous nations 
free from their temptations was to walk in the furnace 
of fire all his days, and with the smell of fire not 
passing upon him. And all this because he was a 
man of desires — of desires that were with God. As 
such may he be our example in these days of per- 
plexity and war. Our Lord Himself fixes our eyes 
on Daniel in these the last times. " When ye shall 
see," He says, "the abomination spoken of by 
Daniel the prophet;" — "when these things come 
to pass," He says, speaking of the latter days, " see 
that ye be not troubled." It is thus in the example 
of the Prophet Daniel that we may watch the times 
and the seasons, and in all and through all look to 
Christ on His throne of judgment, with desire of 
desires ; and seeing Him, may be at peace. 

These our passing troubles are but clouds which 
gather and roll along, and cast their mighty shadows 
upon the earth before the sun appears. 

The very name of Daniel signifies by interpretation 

DANIEL. 315 

the Judgment of G-od; to tliat Judgment he ever 
looked; he had it before his eyes in all things; 
it was the full manifestation of that Judgment that 
he saw in vision as the consummation of all: it 
was ever present with him; and to him alone, of 
all the sons of men, has it been revealed of that 
Judgment that he therein shall be secure, and shall 
" stand in his lot at the end of the days." 



JoslL ]. 
^ The word of the Lord that came to Joel the son of Pethnd." 

Gbeat as is the variety in the works of nature, it is 
no less so in the treasury of Grod's word. Though by 
one and the same Spirit, and having mainly one end 
and object, yet each part differs from every other; 
and this diversity extends throughout ; the prophets, 
for instance, are quite unlike all the rest ; and between 
the prophets themselves there is a marked distinction 
of character. We have seen this in the case of the 
four great prophets; the same richness of variety is 
even yet more striking in the twelve lesser or minor 
prophets, as they are called. Not to enter into the 
case of the others, we may observe this in the three of 
these minor prophets which are introduced in our Sun- 
day Lessons, Joel, Micah, and Habakkuk. Strongly 
defined are the individual characters of each, as differ- 
ent members of the same body, while all alike are 
animated by one life and one spirit; or as varied 
instrumenta of music made use of by one and the 

JOEL. 317 

same poet or musician, and chosen as best suited for 
his purpose, according to the character of his message, 
or the mind he would convey. 

Thus the Prophet Habakkuk is remarkable for very- 
striking figurative expressions, which have become 
familiar in the mouths of all; as e,g, "write the 
vision and make it plain upon tables, that he may run 
that readeth;" "they sacrifice unto their net, and 
bum incense unto their drag ;" " the stone shall cry 
out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall 
answer it ;" " He will make my feet like hinds' feet ;" 
" the just shall live by his faith ;" " although the fig- 
tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the 
vines," and the like ; " yet will I rejoice in the Lord." 
" The Lord is in His holy Temple ; let all the earth 
keep silence before Him." With these are pecu- 
liarly vivid short poetic images, as " God came from 
Teman;" "He stood and measured the earth;" "the 
mountains saw Thee;" "the deep uttered his voice, 
and lifted up his hands on high;" "the sun and 
moon stood still .... at the sight of Thine arrows 
they went." All this is quite peculiar to Habak- 
kuk; and hence his single sayings are so treasured 
and remembered. 

But Micah is the one of all the prophets chosen to 
foretel the place of our Lord's birth, Bethlehem 
Ephrata ; being well suited for that purpose, not only 
as by him our Lord declares the nature of Evangelical 
righteousness, of mercy being better than sacrifice *, but 
because Micah associates the mercies of the Incarnate 
Son of God with pastoral scenes, well meet for the 
herald of Bethlehem, with the hills especially of the 

1 Mic vi. 6. 8; St. Matt. xii. ?• 

318 JOEL. 

Sacred Land. As in the Lesson for to-day, " Arise, 
contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills 
hear thy voice. Hear ye, O mountains, the Lord's 
controversy." "We are impressed with the majesty 
of" the everlasting hills," and think as we read of all 
those Holy mountains which God has made the 
places of His teaching or His wonders : — ^the Mount 
Sinai where the voice of God was heard ; the Moun- 
tains of Moab with the vision of Balaam; Mount 
Pisgah with that of Moses ; Mount Horeb with the 
still small voice speaking to Elijah; Mount Carmel 
with Elijah's prayer ; Gilead, his birth-place, the 
mount of healing ; Mount Sion, of holiness ; the dew 
of Mount Hermon in the sorrows of David ; the 
Mountain also of the Beatitudes; and Tabor, the 
mount of the Transfiguration; and the Mount of 
Olives with the discourse on the Day of Judgment : 
and after all these we cannot but add the Mount 
Calvary. These, "the strong foundations of the 
earth," stand around, like witnesses of God, as He 
comes to plead with His people, and appeal to what 
He has done for them. With Micah the Christian 
kingdom is " the mountain of the Lord's house, esta- 
blished above the mountains *." Such is the proclaimer 
of Bethlehem, the place of flocks : the prophet of the 
new law of Christ, the love of mercy, and humble 
walk with God. His expressions and images are 
from the field and forest, — of the " mourning owl," 
and " wailing dragon,'* and " the bald eagle," 
and the "noise of the flock;" the Gospel is the 
rest under the shadow of the fig-tree and the vine; 
while the remnant of Jacob is " as a dew from the 

* Mift. vu 2 ; iv. 1. 


JOEL. 819 

Lord, as showers upon the grass," or as " the flock 
dwelling solitary in the wood of Carmel." The pro- 
phet himself is " as when they have gathered the sum- 
mer fruits, as the grape gleaners of the vintage, there 
is no cluster to eat," while his "soul desireth the 
first-ripe fruit." Thus speaks the Prophet Micah 
where Jeremiah, in his own characteristic language, 
says, " where is the love of thine espousals ?" 

But how different to this is the Prophet Joel ; one 
object fills his mind from first to last, one subject in 
which he is altogether wrapt; no little sentences of 
wisdom like Habakkuk, who might be called the 
prophet of faith; no rural images like Micah, who 
might be termed the prophet of mercy, but one 
absorbing spirit throughout ; and the question is not 
about expressions, but about the meaning and intent 
of them. He is beyond all others, and it might be 
said, solely and entirely the prophet of Judgment. 
He is full of the trumpet ; it is in all he says ; the 
trumpet of Mount Sinai is there, the trumpet of war, 
the trumpet of calling assemblies, the trumpet to be 
heard at the last great Day. So that our Church on 
Ash Wednesday, when she would call on all her 
people to prepare for judgment, has the Prophet Joel 
read from the Altar instead of the Epistle ; and on 
the great day of Pentecost itself, the first sermon ever 
preached in the Christian Church is the declaration of 
St. Peter in the words of the Prophet Joel^. The 
prophet supplies not only the text, but the sermon. 
And what is the prevailing tone of this prophet? 
" The day," " Alas for the day I the day of the Lord," 
" the day of the Lord great and very terrible ;" this 

* Acts ii. 16. 2U 

820 JOEL. 

is, throughout, his burden. It is one voice, one cha- 
racter, one solemn loud appeal through the whole. 
No pleasant instrument, as Ezekiel ; no pastoral voice, 
as Micah; no dark sentences upon the harp, as 
Habakkuk, but the trumpet alone. 

But when we come to the detail, and the explana- 
tion of particulars, what are we to consider the exact 
subject of this prophet? it is, but more espe- 
cially at the beginning, the description of a plague 
of locusts; such as occurs in eastern countries; the 
sun is hidden bj them, it is " a day of darkness and 
of gloominess;" "as the morning spread upon the 
mountains;" "the land is as the garden of Eden 
before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness;" 
" Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains 
shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that 
devoureth the stubble." The description is most 
exact and striking in all its parts. But there is 
evidently allusion to another subject throughout; 
another and heavier judgment about to come is asso- 
ciated with the description, and that is the army of the 
Chaldeans. "A nation is come up upon my land, 
strong and without number, whose teeth are the 
teeth of a lion." There was one judgment close at 
hand, that of the locusts; and there was another 
yet to come after that, far severer and more enduring, 
the desolation and captivity of Judah; but yet the 
prophet speaks as if they were not two distinct things 
but one, though in time far apart. The very descrip- 
tion itself of the locusts, close and accurate as it is, is 
at the same time figurative and allegorical of an armed 
host. In detailing one it foretels the other. Nor is 
this aU ; it cannot be so. For we may notice that 
through the whole there occasionally occur expressions 

JOEL. 321 

too great for either of these fulfilments, or any thing 
of a temporal character. It is throughout the great 
and terrible day of the Lord coming and nigh at hand, 
"and who can abide it?" In confirmation of which 
we know that our Blessed Saviour Himself, in His 
description of the Day of Judgment on the Mount of 
Olives, takes these expressions of the signs in Heaven 
from the Prophet Joel, and says they are then to be 
fulfilled. And St. Peter likewise, on the Day of Pen- 
tecost, explains these passages in Joel to be the solemn 
call to repentance before the coming of the Great 
Day, bringing forward those words to which our Lord 
had before referred ; — " The sun shall be turned into 
darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great 
and the terrible Day of the Lord come." And St. 
John, in the Eevelation describing the last days, ad- 
duces the like expressions from this prophet : " Put 
ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe : come get you 
down, for the press is full." These are the words of 
the Prophet Joel, but in the Eevelation St. John men- 
tions this as the saying of the Angel, when " one like 
unto the Son of Man " descends, sitting upon a cloud, 
and having " in his hand a sharp sickle." The angel 
says, " Thrust in thy sickle and reap ; for the time is 
come." And again another angel cries with a loud 
voice, "Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the 
clusters of the vine*." Then follows in Joel a still 
more distinct mention of the judgment, " Multitudes, 
multitudes, in the valley of decision : for the day of 
the Lord is near." 

!N'ow this introducing into the same description 
many judgments is much to be observed, because it is 

« O'oel iii. 13; Kev. xiv. 14. 18. 

822 JOEL. 

the case usually in tHe Bible, with a particular purpose 
of G-od, that more than one thing is contained in the 
same prophecy; — one near aiyl soon to happen, the 
other more distant ; one of things temporal, the other 
of things eternal. It is the case in our Lord's account 
of the Day of Judgment ; He speaks at the same time of 
His coming in the fall of Jerusalem, and at the end of 
the world. Thus the prophecy of Jacob is of some things 
just about to be, and some after a long time, and some 
not till the last days. And these descriptions of Joel 
some explain only of the Babylonian army; others, of the 
locusts only ; others, only of the Last Day ; and hence 
the confusion of interpretation, for it is in fact of all. 
The vision indeed is but one as present to the pro- 
phet's eye ; he sees but one scene, though it combines 
many things, — the locusts, the Chaldean army, the 
array of the last Coming. The events are differing in 
time, for speaking in the Spirit of God he partakes of 
the Eternal, and knows not distinction of days ; differ- 
ing in circumstances, but partaking of one character, 
for they are all of one judgment of Q-od ; many judg- 
ments indeed as men behold them, but all leading 
unto one, and blending into one, and perfected in one, 
the full and final retribution of God. 

Our Blessed Saviour sometimes speaks of things 
separate in point of time as if they were equally pre- 
sent to Him. For time is short and eternity is long. 
So is it throughout the Scripture ; so will it be with 
us when released from the body ; so even now so far 
as we partake of the mind of God. 

Now the object of thus mixing up things toge- 
ther is partly for the sake of the prophecy itself^ 
that when men see that one sense has been fulfilled, 
it may be a pledge and earnest to them of the other 

JOEL. 823 

also. But this is not the only purpose ; for it is likewise 
to teach us that the events of life, even now, to those 
who will attend to them, do prepare the way and give 
signals and notes of preparation for the last end of all 
things ; and things are fulfilled in each one of us even 
now which foretell and foreshadow the great and gene- 
ral consummation. Thus, to take an instance which 
may come home to us aU, some are perplexed in ex- 
plaining the Scriptural account which speaks of the 
coming of the Last Day, as speedy and sudden ; or of 
some particular circumstances in that description, as 
of the failure of the Sun, Moon, and Stars. But each 
living soul, as he passes through this earthly scene, 
has a sort of fulfilment of this in himself: for life 
always seems very short when it is gone, and death 
always sudden when it has come to each ; the sun and 
the moon being hidden &om him, and the stars falling, 
has in each one of us a fulfilment, when at death this 
temporal visible scene, this course of night and day, 
this world in which we behold the sun, moon, and 
stars, is for ever at an end as far as we are concerned, 
and our eyes open upon another world which has nei- 
ther the sun nor moon to lighten it. In the case of 
each one of us, it is true that ^' the night is far spent, 
the day is at hand ;" in each it is fulfilled, '' Behold I 
come quickly, and My reward is with Me ;" " the sun 
and moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall not 
give their light ;" "then shall ye see the Son of Man." 
I do not mean to say that this is the meaning of those 
sayings, but that thus on a smaller scale we may know 
that so much is fulfilled among us daily as to keep our 
faith alive and wakeful respecting the great things fore- 
told of the future. 
Another instance of the like kind niay be mentioned \ 

324 JOEL. 

when alarmed at any extraordinarj visitation men hare 
always been apt to think that the Great Daj has 
come; it is no doubt so intended of God that they 
should so connect things, and in all His judgments be 
led to consider the great and the last of all. JS'ow this 
is what Ho does here by the Prophet Joel. 

I may mention a circumstance which may illustrate 
herein the mercy and goodness of God. The holy 
Bishop Ken, whose Morning and Evening Hymns we 
sing in Church, ever laboured to keep up in his mind 
a constant and earnest sense of the Last Day ; and in 
a very beautiful Poem* of his he represents himself as 
hearing, in a dream, the sound of the last Trumpet; 
and that his guardian angel, on his inquiry, told him 
that this had been his doing; that, grieved at the 
lukewarmness of mankind, and seeing one of the seven 
Archangels from God's throne that are to sound the 
last Trumpet of the Great Day, he had asked him to 
breathe but one note of that terrible blast in the ear 
of him of whom he had the charge, in order to awaken 
him. The holy man goes on to state in his Poem that 
the remembrance of that vision and his thoughts on 
that occasion made him ever afterwards watchful. 
To this I may further add the saying of St. Jerome, 
" Whether I eat or drink, or whatever I do, oh ! that 
that Trumpet may ever sound in my ears. Arise, ye 
dead, and come to judgment!" 

We may see then how gracious is this one great 
lesson which God would impress upon us by His Pro- 
phet Joel, of constantly hearing the Trumpet-call and 
realizing the Great Day. Joel indeed is in this re- 

» See "The Trumpet." Bishop Ken's Works, voL iv. p. 50, 
edit. MDCCxxi. 

JOEL. 825 

spect the type of the Christian Minister whose office 
is to " preach " (iciypverwir), that is, to herald or pro- 
claim the kingdom of God, which is as it were to bear 
the trumpet. They are like the angels whom the 
Lord sends to gather His elect from the four winds 
"with a great sound of a trumpet®." And of our 
Lord Himself in the Eevelation, when He sent His 
messages to the Seven Churches, St. John says, "I was 
in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and heard behind me 
a great voice as of a trumpet '." Such is His voice in 
the Prophet Joel. And how trumpet-like, how awaken- 
ing and alarming throughout is the whole style and 
strain of this His inspired herald ! Some characters 
are naturally capable of a more sustained and intense 
contemplation of the great Hereafter than others ; and 
this prophet seems to have been such. Thus when 
Micah says, "They shall beat their swords into plow- 
shares," Joel on the contrary speaks of their " Beat- 
ing their plowshares into swords*," which is like our 
Lord's own expression, "lam not come to send peace, 
but a sword;" "He that hath no sword, let him sell 
his garment and buy one." As if saying, now is the 
time for every effort. All is as the season of watching, 
of earnest preparation, for " the hour is come," " the 
Day is at hand." 

Before concluding another remarkable point must 
be mentioned in the Prophet Joel, which is a voice of 
joy and exultation that is combined throughout with 
the terrible theme, and pervades each subject of his 
prophecy. Pirst, when Grod shall " restore the years 
which the locusts have eaten;" and, secondly, when on 

« St. Matt. xxiv. 31. ' Rev. i. 10; iv. 1. 

^ Micah iv. 3 ; Joel Liu 10. 

826 JOEL. 

the Day of Pentecost the Spirit sliall be poured on all 
flesh for the restoration of the world ; on both of whicli 
occasions there occur expressions far beyond any tem- 
poral fulfilment ; but lastly and more than all, in what 
is yet to be when the harvest shall have come ; when 
the sun and moon shall fail, but " the liord shall be 
the strength of His people," rejoicing over " the rem- 
nant which the Lord shall call.'* 

Now in noticing the character of this prophet this 
circumstance also is full of instruction, as showing that 
the more we are impressed with a serious expectation 
of the Great Day, the more shall we be able to look 
forward to it with joy and comfort. Some have felt 
this at the near approach of death ; so much so that 
afterwards, on an unexpected recovery, when again 
taken up by the world, they have complained of 
losing that peace and joy which they had experienced 
even at the sight of the King of Terrors, and have 
missed that light which was around their Lord's pre- 
sence when He appeared to them in the valley of the 
shadow of death. 

Look always to the Great Day of the Lord, as St. 
John did, and you will be able to say with him, " Even 
so come!" 



St. Jambs ▼. 11 • 

^ Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end 
of the Lord." 

God has been pleased to choose a man in the early 
ages of the world as an example of patience, and 
gifted him in a very extraordinary manner, that he 
might be an inspired teacher unto the very end of 
time. Patience was the virtue most needful to man 
in a state of Heathenism and ignorance, yet it is no 
less so in Christian times ; indeed, it may be observed 
that no grace is spoken of in connexion with the last 
day more than that of patience. " In your patience," 
says our Lord, "possess ye your souls." And St. Paul, 
" The Lord direct your hearts into the patient waiting 
for Christ \" It is set before us as the great perfec- 
tion of faith. " The trying of your faith," says St. 
James, " worketh patience : but let patience have her 
perfect work." And of charity it is said, charity " suf- 

1 8 Theas. iii. 5. 

328 JOB. 

fereth long," is long-patient. And above all, in tte 
Apocalypse ; the crown of God is in " the patience of 
the saints." St. John himself is " in the kingdom 
and patience of Jesus Christ." The praise of Christ 
is *^ thou hast borne, and hast patience, and for Mj 
name's sake hast not fainted." And " because thou 
hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep 
thee from the hour of temptation which shall come 
upon all the world *." So that the example of Job 
may be a warm light to cheer and guide in the very 
night of Antichrist itself; and never more needed than 
in " the great tribulation." He is for Christians them- 
selves the teacher of patience held out to them by an 
Apostle ; he has been raised as it were into the firma- 
ment, there to shine for ever and ever, as a pattern of 
long-suffering, in the kingdom of God. 

And now we cannot but adore the Divine wisdom 
in choosing this man ; and the wonderful manner in 
which it has been done, when God selected him to put 
him among the stars to give light unto the world ; and 
why he is so singularly suited for this purpose. For 
observe how, to clothe his example with attractive- 
ness, and embalm it as a living monument to all ages, 
God endowed him with a singular power of thought 
and language ; so that for poetic beauty and sublimity 
there is nothing equal to the Book of Job in the world, 
from the earliest time to this ; there is a greatness of 
conception in all the words that he utters or details, 
majesty and simplicity, together with a touching power 
of reaching the heart ; so that it is remarkable how 
often persons in the deepest affliction are found with 
the Book of Job in their hands. It is a Divine mirror 

* Rev . 7Lu\. \<i \ \. ^ \ \\. Z \ \i.u 10, 

JOB. 829 

into which they are given to look, and are comforted : 
a stream in which we behold ourselves, and at the 
same time wonders of the deep, jewels of every hue, 
living things, and reflections of the skies. More than 
once in our Burial Service the thrilling words of Job 
fall on our ears ; very many of its memorable sentences 
are in all mouths. 

But now Job was a G-entile among Gentiles ; and 
how does this and all other things add a lustre to his 
example. To teach us patience one is chosen who has 
no knowledge of the Gospel, nor was Christ revealed 
to him ; he is not even of the sacred nation taught by 
the Law, by the oracles of God, and the prophets or 
the example of the saints, but is one from among the 
nations, in the earlier and dark times of the world. 
Nay, he does not appear to have known definitely a 
future state after death, or that condition of everlast- 
ing bliss or grief which makes up for all the evils of 
this life, and renders its heaviest ills to be but '^a 
light affliction which is but for a moment." "For a 
Christian to be patient who has before him the exam^ 
pie of Christ it were not so much ; for one to whom 
the promises of God had been made it were not so 
much; nor to one who was in covenant with God; 
but to one instructed only in the wisdom of nature 
this grace were far more difficult, and therefore by so 
much the more excellent. And in like manner did all 
things else respecting him tend to enhance, and per- 
fect, and make bright the example of his patience. 
For one to suffer poverty, hardship, and sickness, who 
had always been used to them, the trial of patience 
had not been so great ; but Job was cast down from 
the very highest state of earthly prosperity. " Thou hast 
taken me up and cast me down." His forooieY Y^<2>"«^'ec^ 

830 JOB. 

adds weight to his fall. It were no great trial for onewho 
had always been childless to continue to be so ; but for 
one who had been singularly blessed with children the 
bereavement was very severe. And again all external 
hardships are comparatively easy to be borne if health 
of body remains ; but in bodily suffering, as Satan him- 
self said, far more is the temptation to impatience. 
Yet further, sickness of body itself is far more tole^ 
able if the heart is whole ; for " the spirit of a man will 
sustain his infirmity," says Solomon, " but a wounded 
spirit who can bear'?" whereas anguish and deso- 
lation of heart were as the dregs of the cup which Job 
had to drink. " The arrows of the Almighty," he says, 
" are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my 
spirit ; the terrors of God do set themselves in amy 
against me *." Yet more — even in desolation of mind 
it is something to have a comforter in one nearest and 
dearest, it is a strength of good, and greatly lessens 
the trial ; but to Job all evils were aggravated by the 
wife of his bosom. And lastly, — the support of ma^ 
tyrs throughout the world has been the countenance 
of friends who know and value their integrity, and 
the testimony of their sufferings ; but Job's fiiends 
laboured to take from him the peace and comfort of a 
good conscience ; he had nothing to support him bat 
the sense of his innocence, and they with much show 
of wisdom and holiness endeavoured to spoil him of 
that. Nay, far worse than all, God Himself seemed to 
have deserted him, and given him up into the hands of 

But now how did every evil in succession add to his 
crown ? In prosperity he greatly feared God amidst 

» ProY. xvm. 14. * Job vi. 4. 

JOB. 831 

blessings so great; but Us losses and bereavements 
drew out his thankfulness ; and with unequalled and 
awful sublimity it is added, " Then Job arose, and rent 
his mantle, and fell down upon the ground, and wor- 
shipped." " The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken 
awaj ; blessed be the name of the Lord *." His wife's 
evil counsel gave him the opportunity of teaching her 
wisdom and goodness; his friends' reproaches deep- 
ened his humiliation and renunciation of all self-righte- 
ousness. It was indeed a contest between God and 
Satan, and every art of the great enemy was turned to 
the glory of God, and the perfecting of His saint, 
whom He foreknew, and chose, and sanctified, and glo- 
rified. To the wicked the things that should have 
been to their wealth are an occasion of falling ; but 
with the good the things that should have been occa- 
sion of falling are to them exceeding wealth. 

It was not his temptations that caused his patience, 
but brought it out to view ; as the brightness of the 
firmament comes forth in the darkness. In the time 
of prosperity he remembered God ; he " rose up early 
in the morning, and offered burnt-offerings " for his 
sons. And this "continually." Such sacrifices 
were, though he knew it not, the remembrance of 
Christ before God, and acceptable to Him. He had 
the testimony of God beforehand, that there was "none 
like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, 
fearing God and avoiding evil." And in the course of 
the book itself, it appears that he had been the very 
pattern of all goodness ; pure in heart, he made a 
covenant with his eyes ; just, hospitable, full of mercy 
and good fruits, the father of the fatherless, and the 

< Job i. 20, 21. 

882 JOB. 

friend of the widow, open-hearted, open-Handed, open- 
housed. But one thing he lacked, bj tribulation te 
be brought to the secret knowledge of Christ. To 
thank God in the midst of blessings this was mucb; 
but from the lowest depth of bereavement to bless 
Gt)d, this was to come near to the hidden mystery of 
Christ, to the life which is laid up with Christ in Grod. 
Pearful indeed and wonderful were his trials, but more 
fearful and wonderful was his crown. We obseryed 
that he was a Gentile, and had not that knowledge 
which revelation has given us ; but by his patience all 
these wants were supplied. The Gospel had not for 
him " shed its light on immortality ;" but by faith he 
had what was equivalent to it, he had trust in the 
Everlasting God ; ** the eternal God was his refuge," 
and he felt " beneath him the everlasting arms." He 
was known of G^, and he knew God by &ith, and 
" the knowledge of God is eternal life." He could not 
speak of eternity because it was not revealed, bat 
beneath his inner soul there was that which leaned on 
God— the living God — so that his life was with God. 
And thus " imto the godly there ariseth up light in the 
darkness;" "He shall never be moved," "for his 
heart standeth fast, and believeth in the Lord *." By 
patience he put his soul into the hand of God ; so that 
in the destruction of his natural body, by faith he 
could look forward, and take hold of that great doc- 
trine, the resurrection of the flesh '. In the striking 
expression of St. Augustine, " worms were breeding 
without, but immortality within •." 

Again, he knew nothing of Christ as we do ; not 

* Ps. cxii. 6, 7. 'See Job xix, 25. 27. 

* lii Yiu xiML. 'X \ ^^V, VI. 196. 

JOB. 833 

even it may be as the prophets did, or as Abraham 
when God's covenant was made with him; but by 
means of his sore trials in some wonderful and mys- 
terious way he came to the knowledge of Christ 
Crucified ; for in this contest that he underwent by 
some especial power, or vision of Grod, that was made 
known to him, which made all his former knowledge 
to be as nothing. "I have uttered,'* he says at last, 
" that I understood not ; things too wonderful for me." 
" I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear, but 
now mine eye seeth Thee. Wherefore I abhor my- 
self, and repent in dust and ashes '." Thus the result 
of this knowledge was the same as that which appeared 
in ihe most signal instances of faith in the Grospels in 
those who beheld Christ ; in St. Peter, in the Cen- 
turion, the Canaanitish woman and others. "Now 
mine eye seeth Thee, wherefore I abhor myself." 

And now we must consider the trials of Job as 
leading to this end. When Grod spake to Elijah, it 
was not from the whirlwind, nor from the fire and 
earthquake, but in the still small voice which spake of 
the meekness and mercies of the Grospel. But to Job, 
"the Lord answered," it is said, "out of the whirl- 
wind," even as He spoke to Israel out of the fire and 
earthquake of Mount Sinai. It was out of the whirl- 
wind, the terrible storm of affliction raised by the 
prince of this world, that Grod communed with Job ; 
and when He spake it was of His mighty works, of 
the wonders of His hand in creation ; of the gates of 
death that open at His bidding ; of the dwelling-places 
of the light and the darkness ; of the treasures of the 
snow, of the ordinances of the starry Heavens ; of the 

• Job zlii. 3. 5, 6. 

334i JOB. 

wild beasts and birds of His hand, the eagle, the uni- 
corn, the Leviathan. For thus Groi speaks to the 
natural man of His Almighty power and wisdom, 
that man may be humbled before Him and learn 
patience. Thus was Job taught that he might put 
his hand on his mouth and be humbled before Ood ; 
and BO he was ; he rejected not this teaching of God, 
and thus perfected in the school of patience, he heard 
at length the "still small voice" which spake of 
Christ ; nay, in his secret spirit within he beheld Him, 
and then heard His approving voice. 

" Thus," says St. Augustine, " was it given him by 
inspiration to know beforehand the passion of Christ, 
and to understand how patiently he himself ought to 
endure, if Christ in "Whom there was no sin yet 
refused not obedience to His passion, which when 
Job understood in the pure intention of his heart he 
added, * but now mine eye seeth Thee, wherefore I 
abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.' In 
which great understanding he was displeasing to him- 
self; not as the work of God, but he looked on himself as 
dust and ashes in beholding the righteousness of Christ 
in "Whom there could be no sin *." And in another 
place the same writer observes of Job, that it was thna 
Divinely provided that we might see how out of the 
nations one might belong to the spiritual Jerusalem, 
which could only be by having revealed to him the 
only Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ 
Jesus *. 

All the sufferings of Job were to bring him to this 
knowledge; before his trials he had the testimony 

* De Peccat. Mer. Lib. ii. 16. vol. x. 

» De Civ. Dei, Lib. xviii, cap. xlvii. vol. vii. 

JOB. 335 

of God that lie was beyond all perfect and upright, 
but this he still needed. Therefore was Satan allowed 
to try him, and to put forth all his power ; and we 
may be sure from this that the temptations were the 
most severe that could have occurred to any man ; not 
only in estate, in domestic bereavement, and bodily 
suffering, but under circumstances which would render 
these most aggravating. A temper naturally sensi- 
tive and quick ; his own wife, who should have been 
his support and helpmate, acting the part of Eve, and 
becoming herself the tempter ; and his friends that 
should have comforted him, greatly adding to his 
sorrows, by attributing them to his own faults. With 
losses, with wounds, with woes innumerable, with 
many deaths of those most dear, with reproaches of 
those that should comfort, he strengthens himself 
against all with remembrances of a conscience void of 
offence towards God and man — in hopeless state he 
maintains still his hope in God, saying, " though He 
slay me, yet will I trust in Him.*' After all he had 
brought upon him the enemy looked in upon him as 
in mockery, through his wife upbraiding him, and 
through his friends with much show of wisdom, and 
words smoother than oil, but very swords. In his 
goods, in his children, in his body had he smitten him, 
but in all this he magnified God; he had not yet 
reached his heart ; this is what through all he assailed, 
and all this beautiful and Divine book is of the means 
he took to insert his poisonous wounds into his soul, 
but prevailed not. It is not his external calamities, 
but the wounded spirit that embodies itself in such 
incomparable eloquence of expression which draws the 
heart of the afflicted unto Job. Satan had said that a 
man will give all for his life, but Job shows that hia 

836 JOB. 

afflictions were worse than deatb. " Oh that I had 
given up the ghost," he sajs, " and that no eye had 
seen me!" "Why is life given unto the bitter in 
soul? who long for death, but it cometh not; who 
rejoice exceedingly, and are glad when they can find 
the grave." And what was ever so deeply affecting 
as those his words throughout the seventh chapter and 
some others ? The expressions of his exceeding deso- 
lation of heart bring to mind our Lord's own words on 
the Cross, " My Grod, my God, why hast Thou forsaken 
Me ?" "While under the softness of his friends' words 
we seem to hear the voice of the great enemj as he 
spake afterwards through the Jews, " He trusted 
in God that He would deliver him ; let Him 
deliver him now if He will have him." And then, in 
his exceeding humiliation, the voice of distressed 
nature from the lowest depth of affliction in agony of 
spirit, seems calling out for a Mediator, a Daysman, 
an Advocate. " If I wash myself with snow water, 
and make my hands never so clean ; yet shalt Thou 
plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall 
abhor me. Tor He is not a man as I am, that we 
should come together in judgment. Neither is 
there any daysman betwixt us *." Our Lord Himself in 
Heaven hears, and seems to take up his words by His 
prophet : " I looked, and there was none to help ; and 
I wondered that there was none to uphold : therefore 
Mine own arm brought salvation *." 

In the first mention of Job it appears that Qoi 
had set His love upon him. And how was this love 
shown, but by putting on him this heavj burden of 
affliction, that thus he might come to know Christ, 

' Job vx. 30— 33« * laa. IxiiL 6. 

JOB. 337 

and to be made like unto Him. He has at the very first 
the praise of Grod. " Possessing riches," as says St. 
Augustine, " he was not possessed by them ;" so that 
when he lost all His gifts he lost not Him that gave. 
The more poor he was in spirit, the more rich he was 
in God. He is then cast into the furnace of affliction, 
and comes out as pure gold, tried in the fire. His 
friends had said much that was wise and good as 
became the natural man, according to the wisdom of 
this world, which is foolishness with God ; but they 
had not come like Job to the knowledge of Christ. 
This was the great difference. Therefore he whom 
they had despised had to intercede for them, while 
they offered sevenfold sacrifices, for they needed ex- 
piation for what they had done in ignorance. And he 
in the likeness of Christ is accepted for them. 

To conclude, we see then that great suffering is the 
reward of great obedience. " My son, if thou come to 
serve the Lord, prepare thy soul for temptation*." 
None of us knows what may yet await him; if nothing 
else, yet how the suffering of death, or of sickness 
which precedes death, may even yet find us out with a 
deep searching sorrow such as that of Job. And this 
may be the highest reward of God in this world. 
" Blessed is the man that endureth temptation ; for 
when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, 
which the Lord hath promised to them that love 

' Ecclus. ii. 1. ' St. James i. 12. 



St. John xii. 41. 

^ These things said Esaias, when he saw His glory, and spake of 

St. John here tells us that when the Prophet speab 
of seeing the Lord sitting on His throne, as described 
in the sixth chapter of Isaiah, it is of Christ and the 
glorj of His kingdom that he speaks. But the words 
may be taken as expressing the whole character of the 
prophecies of Isaiah ; " he saw His glory," the glory 
of Christ, "and spake of Him." Beyond all the 
prophets he beheld and spake of Christ. And not that 
only, but the expression he saw is peculiarly spoken of 
Isaiah; his prophecy is called "the vision." "Esay 
the prophet," says the son of Sirach, " who was great 
and faithful in his vision \" Thus the first words or 
title of his book is, " The vision of Isaiah, the son of 
Amoz, which he saw." And again, in the beginning 
of the second chapter, " The word that Isaiah the son 
of Amoz saw." A remarkable expression, " the word 

ISATAH. 339 

which he saw," like that of St. John, " That which 
was from the beginning, which we have seen with our 
eyes, the Word of Life." But the word "vision" 
especially belongs to Isaiah, as he seems to behold 
with the eyes in a vivid and strong manner, and not 
only to hear of the things which he speaks. As Job 
says when purified by his trials, " I have heard of Thee 
by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth 

But what is it of which the Evangelist says in the 
Text that Isaiah spoke when he thus beheld Christ P 
It is of the rejection of the Jews. "He hath 
blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that 
they should not see with their eyes, nor understand 
vdth their heart." This then is the burden of Isaiah. 
And this vision recorded in the sixth chapter may very 
well serve to set forth the character, and indeed briefly 
contains the sum of all his prophecies. 

" In the year," he says, " that king TJzziah died, I 
saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted 
up." As the temporal Israel began to decline and 
wane away, just before the death of that leprous king 
who invaded the Priest's office, he beholds the Throne 
of Christ in the Temple, and the " ministering spirits " 
giving thanks to the Ever-blessed Trinity, in Whose 
Name Christians are baptized ; and sees the kingdom 
of Christ filling the world. "Above it stood the 
seraphims:" . . . "and one cried imto another, and 
said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts ; the whole 
earth is full of His glory." And then at the sound 
the door posts of that visible temple were moved, as 
ready to depart; and the prophet in humiliation 
laments his uncleanness, as fdl the saints do in the 
manifestation of Christ. "Then said I, Woe ia ixi^V 
z 2 

840 ISATAH. 

for I am undone ; because I am a man of unclean lips, 
and I dwell amidst a people of unclean lips ; for mine 
eves have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." Here 
the effect of this spiritual lumination within which 
God bestows is as it was with Job, who when he says, 
" but now mine eye seeth Thee," adds " wherefore I 
abhor myself." So it is with the prophet, "Woe is 
me ! for I am undone." 

Such is the spirit which pervades Isaiah's prophe- 
cies throughout. And not less expressive is that 
which follows. "Then flew one of the seraphims 
unto me, having a live coal in his hand, from off the 
altar : and he Ijaid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, 
this hath touched thy lips." "And I heard the voice 
of the Lord, saying. Whom shall I send, and who will 
go for us ? Then said I, Here am I ; send me." 
This alacrity with which he complies, " not disobedient 
unto the heavenly vision," marks the cheerful love 
and brave confidence of Isaiah. The very words of his 
acceptance express the ready obedience of an Apostle, 
not obedience only, but a willing offer of service. 
And the Seraphim touching his lips, admitting him as 
it were into their company about the throne, burning 
with Seraphic knowledge ; and the live coal from the 
altar ; how it all expresses the character of his prophe- 
cies; conveying by his words a holy flame into the 
cold hearts of men, to inspire them with love and 
divine knowledge, purifying their hearts as by flre, and 
this too from the altar ; for all is of the sacrifice of 
Christ, of His atonement and Godhead. Yet wonder- 
ful to say this his Evangelic or Angelic commission is 
to seal up the eyes and ears of the Jews, for it is added, 
" And He said. Go, and tell this people. Hear ye 
indeed, but xmieT^feMidTVQt " 

ISAIAH. 341 

The Spirit of God who marks His manifestations by 
sensible signs ; by the dove at onr Lord's Baptism ; by 
the fiery and cloven tongues at Pentecost ; He speaks 
through Isaiah with the altar coal of the Seraphim. 
And as music partakes of the character of the instru- 
ment on which it is played, so the temper of the pro- 
phet was no doubt suited to the Heavenly hand and 
the finger of God. The very mode in which their 
mission was conveyed characterized the prophets. 
Ezekiel was given to eat of the roll ; the mouth of 
Jeremiah was touched by the hand of the Lord giving 
him power of speech ; but Isaiah was thus set apart 
by a yet more solemn and sublime consecration, by 
the vision of Christ in His Church. Yet further, by 
Moses in the burning bush was Christ seen as the 
Everlasting God; by the children of Israel as the 
Judge in the terrors of Mount Sinai ; by St. Stephen 
standing on the right hand of God to aid ; by St. Paul 
in brightness beyond the sun to convince ; by St. John 
in the Apocalypse as the High Priest that liveth for 
ever ; but by Isaiah as sitting on the throne of His 
kingdom, and the whole earth full of His glory ; and 
then receiving fipom the hands of the Seraphim his 
commission with a loving faith, not as a prophet only, 
but one might say as an Evangelist and Apostle. 
It is remarkable, that his very name should signify 
" the salvation of the Lord !" 

And thus we find that when the Gospel was first 
preached the testimony of Isaiah is referred to as if 
he had been already the teacher of it all ; he bears 
witness, and witness is borne to him ; so that he is 
more quoted in the New Testament than all the other 
prophets put together. As soon as John the Baptist 

342 ISAIAH. 

begins to preach he refers to the Prophet Isaiah as 
calling him the "voice crying in the wilderness." 
When the Bible was given to our XiOrd Himself to 
read in His first preaching in the synagogue at Naza- 
reth, it was the Prophet Isaiah from which He read, 
when He said, " This day is this Scripture fulfilled in 
your ears '." And when He went from thence to 
Capernaum, it was the Prophet Isaiah, says the Evan- 
gelist, that described His going as the light sprmging 
up in the dark land. When the Baptist sent two 
of his disciples to inquire if He were the Christ, our 
Lord caUed their attention to those particular worb 
which Isaiah had described in the Messiah. And He 
Himself when there rejected said, " Well did Esaias 
prophesy of you *." When the Spirit sent Philip to 
convert the Ethiopian eunuch it was in the Prophet 
Isaiah that he was reading of Christ. When St. Paul 
first taught at Borne it was the testimony of Isaiah 
which he pointed out to his countrymen ; it was to the 
same Prophet Isaiah he had so often appealed before 
in his Epistle to the Eomans. And thus it has conti- 
nued afterwards in the Church. St. Augustine men- 
tions in his Confessions, that when he asked St 
Ambrose what book he should read on his conversion, 
he was told by him the Prophet Isaiah *. St. Jerome 
speaks of wishing to expound him as rather an Apostle 
and Evangelist than a prophet ; as being himself one 
of those of whom he himself says, "How beautiful 
on the mountains are the feet of those that preach the 
Gospel of peace * ! " 

2 St. Luke iv. 21. * St. Matt. xv. ^. 

* Lib. ix. cap. v. voL i. 276. ' ProcDin. in Com. Isa. 

ISAIAH. 843 

So thorougUy is the Gospel interwoven witli Isaiah's 
prophecies. All the history of our Lord's coming in 
the flesh is there to be found ; the forerunner pre- 
paring the way before Him ; His birth of a virgin as 
our Immanuel; His flight into Egypt; His gentle 
mode of teaching, with no strife, nor crying, nor voice 
beard in the streets ; His healing miracles, as opening 
the eyes of the blind, and ears of the deaf; all the par- 
ticulars of His suffering and passion as by an eye-wit- 
ness ; as the Man of sorrows, set at nought, wounded, 
smitten with stripes, and stricken, yet silent as a lamb 
brought to the slaughter ; His death and burial ; His 
Resurrection, and His sending of the Comforter ; the 
call of the Gentiles ; and His coming again to judg- 
ment; and in conclusion of all the final state of the 
good, and of the wicked, with which his prophecies 
terminate, of the worm that dieth not, and the fire that 
is not quenched. All these he describes expressly; 
but more than all is his prophecy pervaded and lumi- 
nated with the Gospel; the vision, the rapt vision 
into the things of God is so peculiarly his. He is full 
of warnings and of judgments ; and in his near admis- 
sion unto the throne of God clouds and darkness are 
round about him; but every cloud is full of light, 
every judgment is lined or penetrated with the Gos- 
pel, its comforts and its glory. 

His vision — the range of his spiritual sight — is so 
extensive, that he mourns not as circumscribed by 
passing troubles and the rejection of the Jews, 
but exults and breaks forth into a strain of thank- 
fulness at the call of the Gentiles. " Lift up thine 
eyes round about and behold ; all these gather them- 
selves together and come to thee." " Thou shalt surely 
clothe thee with them aU,as with an omament,as a bride 

844 ISAIAH. 

doeth*." Surely if the Seraphims about the throne 
sing in anticipation of the G-ospel it must be in strains 
such as these of Isaiah. As this prophet says of the 
Jews, He hath hlinded their eyes, that they should 
not see; so of himself it might be said. He hath 
opened his eyes and given him to behold His glory. 
They, when in the midst of it, saw it not : he, though 
afar off, beheld Him as nigh. They looked upon Him 
with their bodily eyes, but they beheld Him not : he saw 
Him in the spirit so vividly that he spake of His Cru- 
cifixion and the scenes of His life as if he had been 
present. It is as it were vision and not prophecy. 

Again ; the very words and images with which he 
describes the Gospel are such that even we, with our 
knowledge, could find no more glowing or suitabb 
terms with which to speak of it. It is " a tabernacle 
shadowing from the heat, a place of refuge, a covert 
fipom the storm;" "peace flowing like the river;" 
"light springing up in the land of the shadow of 
death;" " sins as scarlet made white as snow ;" "sal- 
vation appointed for walls and bulwarks ;" the wild 
beasts led by the little child ; " the glorious Lord unto 
us a place of rivers and streams ^." Nothing could be 
more descriptive of the prophet himself, in these his 
Divine gifts, than are his own words, "Thine eyes 
shall see the King in His beauty ; they shaU behold 
the land that is very far off •." 

Such, then, is the first and greatest of prophets 
whose writings come down to us ; but there is no one 
whose prophecies are less marked, by his own peculiar 

• Isa. xlix. 18. 

' Isa. iv. 6 ; ix. 2; i. 18; xxvi. 1 ; xxxiiL 2|. 

' Isa. xxxiii. 21. 

ISAIAH. 845 

disposition and character, or which connect themselves 
so little with the circumstances of his own history. 
Ezekiel speaks of himself, and Jeremiah much of his 
own sorrows ; but Isaiah does not so. He comes before 
us indeed in the Book of Kings, but it is only to deli- 
ver messages of the same sublime and exalted cha- 
racter as his written prophecies ; to Hezekiah on his 
sickness, and on his recovery, of God's judgments, and 
the answer of God to the threats of Sennacherib. His 
miracles, too, are of the same kind, great and wonder- 
ful, such as the going back of the sun, and the angel 
smiting the Assyrian host. "Ask thou a sign," he 
says in sublimest words to Ahaz, "in the heavens 
above, or in the depth below." He does not appear 
mixed up with the events of his time, on which he 
bore to his people the Divine messages, but seems in 
spirit apart, as conversing with God. He does not, as 
David in the Psalms, speak of his own individual trials, 
in which Christ was the strength of his soul ; nor as 
Jeremiah, suffering with the sins and sufferings of the 
Jews; but ever sees beyond the glories of Christ's 
kingdom,— and the vast, awful, eternal year. His very 
first words are, " Hear, O Heavens, and give ear, O 
Earth," as if about to speak of things which angels 
as well as men desire to look into. 

In like manner of his own history itself nothing is 
said. It is often spoken of by early writers ' as " a 
most certain tradition," of which there was no doubt 
in the Church, that he died a martyr, being " sawn 
asunder" by Manasses;-of whose father, Hezekiah, 
he had been the friend and counsellor; but these 

• St. Aug. Civ. Dei, vol. viii. p. 813. Tertull. De Pat. St. 

846 ISAIAH. 

and like trials leading to bis martyrdom, are not 
mentioned in Scripture ; it is also supposed that he 
was, like Daniel, of a princely family, but there is no 
evidence of this, unless it be in the character of his 
style of writing. From the throne of kings he is 
brought near to the throne of God, surpafising in sub- 
limity all the prophets. But in the shadow of that 
throne he is hidden. Like the Priestly Prince Md- 
chizedeck, his earthly belongings are not known, for 
his life is with Christ in Gk)d. In the prophecies which 
he has to deliver, heavy judgments are conveyed ; but 
they are always the occasion of bis looking forward 
&om them to the everlasting mercies which are with 
G-od ; whatever calamities he had to endure, they are 
not mentioned by him, for his eyes were looking afer 
off; and "men have not perceived by the ear," he 
says, " neither hath the eye seen what Q-od hath pre- 
pared for him that waiteth for him*." And as the one 
great subject interwoven with, lying under, in and be- 
yond all his sayings, is the first and the second com- 
ing of Christ, so as far as we can learn any thing of his 
own spirit and temper of mind, it is that especially in 
which we are to wait for the comings of God. To take 
and understand his prophecies aright we are to be like 
him, lifting our hearts above earthly things, heeding 
them not, seeing them not, on account of the great 
and glowing flood of light that is poured down afiur in 
the opening of the heavens. " All flesh," he cries, 
"is grass *;" but it is in order to add, " O Zion, that 
bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high 

To conclude, we observed that ancient writers 

1 lsa.\xw. 4. ' Isa. xl. C. 9. 

ISAIAH. 347 

"wislied to explain Isaiah rather as an Evangelist than 
a prophet, now this it is which the Church does for 
us, and in fact supplies us with the best commentary, 
"bj reading this prophet so entirely, both on Sundays 
and week days, during this season of Advent. We 
must all know that passing events, times, and occa- 
sions, throw a light upon Scripture, in a marvellous 
and surprising manner, draw out its meaning, and 
forcibly apply it, more than any observations of our 
own could possibly do. And none of us can say how 
much the reading of Isaiah at this time of Advent has 
served to furnish us with the fuller understanding of 
this Evangelical prophet. It thus also serves to carry 
on and hold up this great light to the last days of 
Antichrist, as doubtless it has been divinely intended ; 
according to that description given of him in Ecclesi- 
asticus, " He saw by an excellent spirit what should 
come to pass at the last, and he comforted them that 
mourned in Sion. He showed what should come to 
pass for ever and secret things or ever they came *." 
The time, too, when this great prophet came forward, 
is to be noticed ; it was in the decline of the temporal 
Israel ; all things prepared for their ruin ; then it was 
that the visions of Isaiah were turned to the future ; 
then was faith taught. Something of this kind seems 
likely to be hereafter. 

Again, how was he instated in this his high calling? 
it was by the coal from the. altar on his lips : and what 
does this signify to us ? in an assembly of Christians 
I need not say ; it is the Body of Christ, sacrificed for 
us, full of His Godhead as with living fire. In ap- 
proaching we say, (Sursum corda,) "Lift up your 

' Ecclus. xlviii. 24. 

848 ISAIAH. 

hearts," and the answer is, " We lift them up unto 
the Lord." 

The warnings of Isaiah are to us like sounds of tlie 
ArchangePs trumpet, great, glorious, but very awfuL 
" Hear, O Heavens, and give ear, O Earth," is tlie 
sound ; for, as the Psalmist sajs, ** He shall call the 
Heavens from ahove and the earth, that He maj judge 
His people ;" and who are these His chosen ? "Ga- 
ther Mjr saints," He says, " together unto Me ; those 
that have made a covenant with Me with sacrifice." 



2 Thess. ii. 3. 

*' Let no man deceive you by any means : for that day shall not 
come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of 
sin be revealed, the son of perdition." 

St. Paul here speaks of the coming of the wicked one 
before the end of the world, the " man of sin ;" and 
St. John, in his Epistle, speaks of the same under the 
name of "the Antichrist," or the enemy of Christ, 
under which name he has ever since been known. St. 
Paul alludes to it as a subject with which the Thessa- 
lonians were weU acquainted on account of his instruc- 
tions ; " Eemember ye not," he adds, " that, when I 
was yet with you, I told you these things ? And now 
ye know what withholdeth." And St. John in like 
manner speaks of it as something which was familiarly 
known to those early Christians to whom he wrote, 
" Little children, it is the last time : and as ye have 
heard that the Antichrist shall come." 

Now what I wish to observe is, that these Apostles 
had evidently made the coming of this wicked man one 
of the great subjects of their teaching ; that when they 


instructed their disciples on the doctrines of Christ, 
they gave them warnings about the "man of sin." 
Because, if it appeared necessary or desirable for the 
Apostles to do so in those early days, it seems as if 
it must be the duty of Christian ministers at all times 
to do the same, to warn their flocks, and instruct them 
respecting the great enemy of Christ, the wolf that 
shall lay waste the Christian fold. 

But when they search into it, in order that they 
may teach, they find that they can learn nothing on 
this awful and important matter, beyond these acci- 
dental allusioiis to it as to a subject once well known. 
And when we come to inquire of the early writers 
of the Church in aflber times, one or two himdred 
years later, we find that they knew no more than our- 
selves, having no information beyond what is contained 
in these passages of St. Paul ; and though they were 
always on the look-out for the coming of this wicked 
one, and warning others respecting him ; yet they saj 
that although it is evident that the first Christians must 
have known more respecting him, and also of the power 
that withholdeth, or hinders his coming for a time, yet 
that knowledge had entirely perished. Por St, Paul 
says to the Thessalonians, " And now ye know what 
withholdeth," but the Church, ever since that time, 
has not known what it is which keeps down, and pre- 
vents the appearance of, that wicked one. 

But now we find that there is no important subject 
revealed *n Scripture which stands altogether single 
and alone, but when we have been informed of it, we 
then see that there are other places in Scripture where 
it is more or less alluded to or implied. I will there- 
fore mention some places which have always been 
supposed by the Church to speak of this wicked man. 


Our Lord says to the Jews in St. John's Gospel, " I 
am come in My Father's name, and ye receive Me 
not ; if another shall come in his own name, him ye 
wiD receive *." And in speaking of the end of the 
world He says, " When ye therefore shall see the abo- 
mination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the pro- 
phet, stand in the holy place ; whoso readeth, let him 
understand *." The word " abomination " in Scripture 
often means an idol, as we read of the abomination of 
the Sidonians, and the like ; that is, the idol-god which 
they worshipped. So that our Lord speaks of " the son 
of perdition" probably under this name. And this is 
in other words, as St. Paul describes "the man of sin ;" 
"Who opposeth," he says, "and exalteth himself 
above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so 
that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing 
himself that he is God." There are many things on this 
subject in the Prophet Daniel, and in the Eevelation 
of St. John, but which are difficult to understand or 
explain. He is spoken of in both of these as the one 
that " goeth into perdition ;" and also, that he shall 
prevail against, and overcome, the saints ; that is, the 
people of God, or Christians. This overcoming does 
not necessarily mean that he should conquer them in 
battle, or any thing of that sort, but that he will deceive 
them to their ruin. St. Paul says of him, " Whose com- 
ing is after the working of Satan, with all power and 
signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of 
unrighteousness in them that perish." An expression 
of St. John in the Eevelation is still more strong and 
fearful than this ; in speaking of that time when this 
wicked man will be revealed, he describes Satan during 

» St. John v. 43. « St. Matt xxiv. 15. 


the whole period of the Christian Church as being 
bound or chained hj the mighty power of God, but at 
the end of the world, he says, he " shall be unloosed 
for a short season." Our Lord in His discourse on 
the Mount of Olives, says much of this short season so 
terrible. " For then," He says, " shall be great tribu- 
lation, such as was not from the beginning of the 
creation which God created unto this time, neither 
shall be ; and except that the Lord had shortened the 
days, no flesh should be saved; but for the elect's 
sake, whom He hath chosen. He hath shortened the 
days." In these places the time is spoken of as being 
short, and from some expressions in Daniel and St. 
John's Eevelation it has always been supposed that it 
will only be for three years and a half. 

But now this question will at once occur to us, if it 
is only to be for three years and a half how was it of 
so much concern to the early Christians, that apostles 
should warn them so much respecting his coming, and 
to ourselves now, for we probably may not live to see 
that time ? And again, if this great masterpiece of 
Satan, which he has been preparing ever since our 
Lord's Incarnation, this one who is to have the " eyes 
of man," as Daniel says, although Satan will dwell in 
him bodily, and give him all power of miracles and 
lying wonders, so that he will be worshipped as a Gbd; 
yet still, if it is but one man, and he only continues in 
full power for so short a time, this can be no great 
concern to the whole body of Christians of all times. 
If, for instance, he was to rise at the other end of the 
world, what concern could he be to the poor of this 
parish? how could they belong to him, unto their 
utter condemnation ? In short, how could this be a 
matter of such infinite importance to every Christian 


of all times, from those Thessalonians wbom St. Paul 
warned even unto the end ? 

If we look to the passages we have been considering^ 
we shall see the reason of this. Our blessed Lord 
Himself only went about preaching for three jears or 
three years and a half; He only appeared once in a dis- 
tant country, for a short time, m^y hundred yeara 
ago ; yet we hope that we belong to Him ; that we are 
most intimately united to Him, as much so as those 
who saw His face in the flesh ; that we are made parts 
of His Body, partake of His Spirit, have our very life 
hid with Him in Gk)d ; are knit to Him, are one with 
Him. In like manner it appears that bad men in all 
ages of the world may have some connexion with this 
wicked one ; and although they know it not, and think 
not of it, are all like limbs of one body, of which he is 
the head ; even from Cain, the first murderer, unto 
the end. It is thus described by good men of old. 

Thus St. John in his Epistle says, " this is that 
spirit of the Antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it 
should come ; and even now already is it in the world." 
And in another place, ''as ye have heard that the 
Antichrist shall come, even now are there many Anti- 
christs." Even in that early Church, so holy and 
good, the very pattern to which we look, there were 
many that belonged to that son of perdition who has 
not yet appeared. And even then his mark was found. 
The spirit of the Antichri&t was then afiecting men's 
minds so long before he appeared. In like manner 
St. Paul, when he says that wicked one shall eome, 
adds, and "the mystery of iniquity doth already work." 
There was some great Be<»ret of wickedness which was 
connected with that wicked (me already at work, and 


354 THE AirriGHBIST. 

BO doubt baa been at work ever since, but kept under 
by some constraining power. 

The nature also, and the extent of this wickedness, 
is mentioned. Thus St. John says, " "Who is a liar but 
he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ ? He is anti- 
christ that denieth the Father and the Son." And 
again, " Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ 
is come in the flesh is of God ; and every spirit that 
confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is 
not of God : and this is that spirit " or mark " of Anti- 
christ." Now here every good Christian who will be 
saved in Christ is described as confessing the Son of 
God : and it will be seen in these passages that con- 
fessing the Son is the same as being guided by His 
Spirit, and so being found in Christ, And all who are 
not saved in Christ are said to be those that deny the 
Son, and they all belong, it is said, to Antichrist. And 
the same thing is stated in the Eevelation, after another 
manner, where this Antichrist is described. " And all 
that dwell upon the earth shall worship him whose 
names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb, 
slain from the foundation of the world." So that it is 
clear that whoever does not belong to Christ by living 
in His Spirit, and being incorporated into His Body, 
does belong to the great body of Antichrist that 
wicked one which is to be revealed. So that we may 
see it is not a distant matter, nor one that is limited 
and confined to a short space and a short time * but it 
is the working of that secret disease within the Church 
which will at last break out upon the surface and wiU 
then be so intolerable that God will at once put a 
stop to the world. " For the elect's sake He will shorten 
the days;" "for a short work will the Lord make 


upon the earth ;" " He will hasten to cut it short in 

Nothing therefore can be more dangerous and un- 
suitable in a Christian teacher than to put awaj from 
ourselves this name and spirit of Antichrist ; as if it 
were something afar off, belonging to another age 
or nation; for whatever it may be, it doubtless is 
at work in our own country, in our own parish, in our 
own family and household, and, if we do not take great 
care, in our own heart ; for whatever does not bear the 
mark of Christ Crucified, does bear the mark of His 
great enemy, who is some day to be manifested upon 
earth with all the power of Satan, and to be admired 
and worshipped as God, and to prevail ; — until the Lord 
shall destroy him " by the breath of His mouth," and 
"the brightness of His coming." 

The same will appear in St. Paul's description, as it 
does in St. John ; and here it is more evident in the 
original Greek than in the English, where it is not 
" the wicked one," but " the lawless one." St. Paul 
says, " when that which hindereth is taken out of the 
way, then shall the lawless one be revealed," for " the 
mystery of the lawlessness is already at work." What 
St. John calls " the Antichrist," St. Paul names " the 
lawless one ;" and what St. John mentions as " the 
spirit of Antichrist already come," St. Paul describes 
as " the mystery of the lawlessness already working." 
EvjBU from that time till now corruption has been 
working against the law and the Spirit of Christ, which 
will at length give rise to His great enemy in the flesh. 
And this word "lawlessness" is the same which our 
Lord Himself uses respecting it, which is translated in 
our version " iniquity," " because that iniquity shall 
abound," i.e. that "the lawlessness shall abound" o^V^^ 


multiplied, " love shall wax cold." *' The mystery of the 
lawlessness is working," says St. Paul ; and because 
men received not the love of the truth, Q-od shall send 
on them a strong delusion, and they shall believe " the 
lie," or " the false one." 

This gathering together through all Christian times 
of a vast multitude who belong to that wicked one who 
is to appear at last is set forth in many parts of Scrip- 
ture ; and especially in the Eevelation of St. John. It 
is there represented that Satan has disappeared from 
sight who used to possess the bodies of men, and to be 
worshipped in idol temples, and speak through Hea- 
then oracles; he is said to be bound by a chain, but 
that now he is working secretly in drawing men off 
from the love and the law of Christ, and when he has 
sufficiently prevailed he will again be manifest, he will 
draw all men to him, except a small remnant, by raising 
up the wicked one, the man of sin, and causing him to 
be worshipped; and as the Eevelation describes it, 
'' Satan will himself be let loose for a short season ;" 
what our Lord calls "the great tribulation." Through- 
out the Eevelation there seems to be a secret gather- 
ing, as for a great battle at the end; a mustenng 
together throughout the whole period of Christianity 
which will at last be revealed. " The spirits of devils," 
it is said, " shall go forth imto the whole world, to 
gather them to the battle of the great day of God Al- 
mighty." " Blessed is he that watcheth." And again 
it is said, " Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and 
shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four 
quarters of the earth. Grog and Magog, to gather them 
together to battle ; the number of whom is as the sand 
of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the 
earth, and comp«c&^ed t\ie ci&m^ of the saints about, and 


the beloved city." The words " Gog and Magog "do not 
mean any particular place or nation, but are spiritual 
or mystical expressions, meaning hiding-places; it 
means the wickedness which is now kept under and 
hidden will be revealed ; and " the camp of the saints " 
does not mean any particular place, but good people, 
wherever they are to be found. As our Lord says, 
of the same, " Then shall many be offended, and shall 
betray one another, and shall hate one another." 
" The brother shall betray the brother to death, and 
the father the son." But by using the words " Gog 
and Magog," St. John means to say that the account 
of it all wiU be found under those names in the Pro- 
phet Ezekiel. For Ezekiel, throughout some long 
chapters, describes some great and fearful conflict 
which is to take place, he says, " in the latter days ;" and 
although it is known to be the account of the over- 
flowings of ungodliness, yet it has never been under- 

Now it is not at all known what it is that lets or 
hinders the manifestation of the wicked one, for though 
St. Paul says to the Thessalonians, " And now ye know 
what withholdeth," showing that the Apostles had 
then explained it, yet it has never been known since. 
But in the early Church many thought it was the 
Heathen Eoman Empire ; and nothing can show more 
strongly the terrible alarm of the early Christians 
respecting this " the man of sin," " the son of per- 
dition," than this, that we find it mentioned ', that 
they used to pray for the safety of the Eoman Empire, 
and exhorted one another to do so, because it was sup- 
posed to be the power that hindereth the coming of 

* As by St. Augustine, TertuUlaQ) L«.c\axL\.vn&. 


the wicked one. They prayed for the continuance 
even of that Heathen idolatrous empire which at that 
very time was persecuting them, and putting to cruel 
deaths those early martyrs, because some supposed 
that when it was taken away would come the great 
enemy of Christ. That the Roman empire was the 
power that hindered was only the opinion of some, who 
at the same time say that there was also another 
opinion, that it was the good Spirit of God and His 
Church that hindered. Now time has shown that it 
was not the Heathen empire of Eome that hindered, 
because that has long ago ceased to exist, and the 
Lawless one is not yet come; and therefore it may 
be that the Church of God is that power which still 
keeps under the outbreaking of infidelity. There are 
many places in Scripture which render this opinion 
probable with some explanation. And I think, if we 
might venture to judge at all for ourselves on such a 
subject, we should be disposed to think that the 
Church visible throughout the world, however corrupt 
it is and unfaithful to her high calling, nay, even a» 
Scripture describes the Holy City of old " adulterous " 
in God's sight from its loving the world more than 
God, yet, I say, that notwithstanding all this, it keeps 
down the spirit of lawlessness, the great revelation of 
the man of sin. 

However that may be, this is certain, that from the 
times of St. John and St. Paul there has been going 
on the secret working of some great wickedness, and 
that when it is sufficiently strong it will break out in 
such a manner as to make all the tribulation and all 
the wickedness that has ever been in the world, and all 
the horrors of the worst days, to be as nothing in com- 
parison with it. Oi 's^^L'a.^i iMi.\.\rcfe*^'^^\i^\^ W^oasible 


for US to conceive. We might long to know more 
about this wicked one, and might think ourselves very 
wise if we could find out. But it is impossible. Nor 
can any human wit, or learning, or power, afford the 
slightest protection or escape. "Fear, and the pit, 
and the snare," says Isaiah, speaking of it, " are upon 
thee, O inhabitant of the earth. And it shall come to 
pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear 
shall fall into the pit ; and he that cometh up out of 
the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare*." 

But although it is not given to us to know respecting 
this wicked one, yet what is of far greater importance, 
we can avoid having on us his mark, as Holy Scrip- 
ture calls it ; for every one that has on him the mark 
of this wicked one, the son of perdition, St. John says in 
the Eevelation, will be cast into the lake burning with 
fire and brimstone ^ It is impossible, I say, for human 
ability to escape the snare, for it is called the " strong de- 
lusion," " all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them 
that perish." His " coming" is said to be " after the 
working of Satan with all power," the effect of seducing 
spirits that will go forth to deceive. But all this we 
are told will come upon men because they love not 
the truth. Human wit cannot save us, but the 
love of God will. It is from the love of God waxing 
cold that it will take its rise. It will be on account of 
great corruption and wickedness that God will with- 
draw His protection ; then Satan will have his will 
and prevail, and will bring forth the man of sin. 

We have witnessed many instances of this in what 
may be called a small and limited scale. A great many 
countries, once Christian, comprehending many places 

* Isa. xxiv. 18. • Rev. xiv. 9, 10, 

360 THE AirriCHBIST. 

where the Apostles founded churcbes, and which long 
continued as bright lights of the world ; yet now tboae 
countries for many hundred years have been followen 
of the false Prophet Mahomet, a sensual and nnpiin- 
cipled impostor. But what was the reason of tlieir 
being given over to such a strange delusion as thii? 
It was in this case, because they had become so lerj 
corrupt before, idolatrous and sensual. Something of 
the same kind is now going on in America, in what is 
called Mormonism, they receive a great impostor, 
because their minds were before prepared for him. 
We know to what an extent the god of this world, the 
spirit of mammon, had eaten out the heart of true 
Christian faith, before this great manifestation of 
infidelity went out from among them. For we may 
be sure that God would never allow such an in&toa- 
tion as this to prevail, were not men before veiy far 
gone from the love of the truth. Many instances of 
this kind might be mentioned to show that when fidae 
prophets arise and deceive many, it is on account of 
men in those countries provoking God by sins before- 
hand ; and therefore that it is according to the usual 
mode of God's dealing, that great wickedness will first 
spread and deepen, before He will give men over to the 
coming of the wicked one. 

But I forbear mentioning these because it is not 
desirable to speculate and send our thoughts abroad on 
this great mystery, but to bring it home to ourselves. 
There are already, says St. John, many Antichrists, 
and the spirit of Antichrist is already come. This 
therefore is what the Eevelation calls the mark of 
belonging to the son of perdition. And what is it P 
St. John explains, it is he says, " he that confesseth 
not that Jesus Clatist \"a eom^i m t\v"a fleah,*' for " eveiy 


spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the 
flesh is of God." And again, " He is Antichrist that 
denieth the Father and the Son." And we know what 
our Lord Himself says in the Gospels on denying and 
confessing Him, that he that denieth Him shall be 
denied before the angels of God : and he that confesseth 
Him shall be acknowledged by Him at the last day. 
And in the same places our Lord explains what it is to 
deny or to confess Him : — that to love father or mother 
or any thing in the world more than Him is to be not 
worthy of Him. To confess Christ as our God come 
in the flesh is to hold to Him in all things in a manner 
worthy of Him. Wonderful and great is the power of 
him who in faith abides in Him as God, " The spirit 
of the Antichrist is in the world," says St. John, " but 
greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the 
world." So much greater is the power of Christ than 
that of the wicked one, that Christ is said to destroy 
him by " the breath of His mouth." So that very 
great indeed is our strength if we abide in Him. The 
power and fearfulness of Antichrist is far beyond any 
thing we are apt to conceive of him ; yefc compared 
with the power of Christ it is absolutely nothing. 
How then shall we escape, if we neglect so great sal- 
vation ? Confessing Christ come in the flesh means 
believing Christ to be God ; no belief in Him short of 
this is what St. John means, or is a saving fiiith. It 
is a faith and a confession in which we are to grow 
more and more, being made by it a part of His living 
Body, partaking of His life, and, as our Lord Himself 
s^s, abiding in Him as the branch abides in the vine. 
This is our safety. 

If again we turn to St. Paul's description he says, 
" The lawless one " cometh, and " the mystery of lawl<a«ap 


ness already worketh until that wicked one shall be 
revealed," The mystery of lawlessness, that must 
mean some secret working of disobedience. The law 
of God gives light and converts the soul ; the laws of 
Scripture, the laws of Christ's kingdom on earth, the 
laws of the Church, and even in some degree the Mm 
of human government, are laws of God, which we are 
commanded to obey for conscience' sake. But the 
law of all laws, the highest and best of all laws, is that 
of the Spirit of God dwelling within us. Por even 
by natural conscience, St. Paul says, that the heathen 
are a law unto themselves. How much more is the 
perfect law of God's Spirit within us ? Surely it is 
in obeying this most of all. even in the most trivial 
matter, that we shall be furthest from the spirit of 
Antichrist. Obedience to the law of Christ, whereso- 
ever it will carry us, in all matters, bringing eveiy 
thought into His obedience; this is being armed 
against the evil day. 

A consideration of these times which are to come 
is calculated to have a very sobering and chasteniBg 
effect upon our minds ; the Jews of old looked forward 
to a bright earthly future because they expected in the 
flesh the great Deliverer of mankind, the King of 
Israel and His kingdom of peace ; they had high hopes 
in looking forward, and therefore they thought much 
of leaving children behind them and an inheritance in 
that holy land where the promised Messiah was 
expected. But the reverse of all this is the case with 
the Christian ; all that he has to look forward to on 
earth before the coming of the Judge are days of evil 
such as never before have been, and with them the 
wicked one being revealed. His earthly hopes are cut 
off and covered with a black doud, in order that his 


treasure may be elsewhere and his heart more turned to 
Heaven. For this reason it is to be lamented that 
those which were once Apostolic warnings, sounding 
throughout the Church, have so much ceased among 
lis. And Christians have been on all sides looking 
forward to great things upon earth, which has become 
a great snare to them, leading to impatience and vain, 
visionary hopes of all kind. Some for earthly liberty, 
not considering that nothing comes more near to what 
Scripture calls " lawlessness," which is to prepare the 
way for the son of perdition. Some think themselves 
worthy of nothing less than an infallible Church, and 
sure light, and constant miracles, to prove to them 
how much God is with them, that seeking for a sign 
which made our Lord to sigh deeply in spirit, knowing 
how much it would be so when Antichrist would come 
in with seducing spirits, and lying wonders, and very 
high promises. And surely the common evils of life 
must have lost much of their power to one who con- 
siders what is to be on earth before Christ appears ; 
for what are riches, and honour in such a world ? 
What is more calculated to teach us in all things 
moderation of mind ? Death is awful, but it loses 
half its terrors when considered as delivering us from 
the evil to come upon the earth. This is often alluded to 
in the Scriptures. It is in speaking of the temptations 
of Antichrist, and of those that receive his mark being 
tormented in fire and brimstone for ever and ever, 
that it is said in the Revelation, " I heard a voice from 
Heaven saying, Blessed are the dead that die in the 
Lord." Blessed indeed will be the dead at that time 
who have escaped the snare and the sufferings which 
will be upon the earth. " Wherefpre I praised the 
dead which are already dead more than the living." 


Another consideration wliicli this subject will sug- 
gest to U8 is great care for the young, those who ne 
more likely than ourselves to see those days. That 
they should be baptized and instructed and confirmed. 
That they should be strengthened in good principlefl, 
and for no prospect of worldly advantage exposed to 
temptation. And that when we can do nothing else 
we should not cease to pray for them, knowing not 
what trials they may have to undergo. An early 
writer ® speaks of Antichrist as that wicked one who 
shall put out the sun of this world. This well 
expresses what Scripture leads us to expect of all spi- 
ritual light being in a great manner lost at that time. 
*' His kingdom," says St. John in the fievelation, 
*^ was full of darkness." And in allusion to this our 
Lord Himself seems to say, " Yet a little while is the 
light with you, walk while ye have the light, lest dark- 
ness come upon you." "While ye have the light, 
believe in the light, and walk as children of the light." 

Indeed another great advantage we shall gain by 
bearing in mind the coming of those evil days is this, 
that we shall better understand the Holy Scriptures ; 
for they speak very much throughout of those last 
days. In the Prophets there are whole chapters on 
the subject ; but more particularly are there frequent 
allusions to it even when other lesser matters are 
spoken of. It has been supposed that the Psalms 
throughout have an especial reference to the man of 
sin and his days. An ancient writer in explaining 
the Book of Job interprets many things of the 
son of perdition. These passages in the Scriptures 
need not be mentioned, because if your minds are 


deeply impressed with this expectation as Christians 
used to be you will see it for yourselves, and in the 
daily reading of the Psalms it will give a force and 
moMiing to many expressions more than you have 
been used to see in them. 

But like a shadow from the heat, a covert from the 
storm, a resting-place in the water-floods, a light most 
welcome in the darkness, a delight and counsellor, will 
be the four Grospels, and what- you read therein of 
Jesus Christ going about and doing good, and healing 
all that were oppressed of the devil. May we think 
of these things till we find more and more no consola- 
tion on earth equal to that of reading the Holy Scrip- 
tures, and communion with God in prayer, and in His 
blessed Sacraments. 







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